Nine service awards were presented in 2018. Find out more about each recipient below.
Harold I. Friedman, MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery
Harold I. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1984 as
the founding chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Department
of Surgery. He became a Professor of Surgery in 1990. He also serves as the program
director for the Palmetto Health/School of Medicine Integrated Plastic Surgery Training
Friedman has made extensive contributions in clinical practice, medical education,
research and leadership in his profession. He has run a busy clinical practice at
Palmetto Health Richland and the Dorn VA Medical Center. He also has expanded his
practice to underserved communities in the Midlands to increase access to plastic
surgery clinical care.
Friedman has been actively involved with third and fourth year medical students on
surgery rotations and gets high teaching marks from them as well as from his residents.
He has served as councilor in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and director
of the Surgical Subspecialties Clerkship.
Friedman was instrumental in starting the plastic surgery residency program. He has
been a strong mentor for over 100 general surgery residents in the Palmetto Health/School
of Medicine General Surgery Program, providing motivation and supportive peer guidance
to help them excel professionally. As a result of serving as such an excellent role
model, many residents have chosen to pursue careers in plastic surgery.
His research focuses on implantable materials and soft tissue interactions. He has
obtained over $900,000 in grants and maintains an active research lab. He is well
published with six book chapters, 66 publications, 34 abstracts and two patents.
Friedman has served on editorial boards for ten national journals and reviewed over
200 articles. He also has served on three dissertation committees and mentored numerous
students in basic science research.
Friedman has shown maturity in leadership in multiple professional societies. He has
served as president of both the South Carolina Society of Plastic Surgeons and the
Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Nationally, he has been
active with the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Society and the American College
of Surgeons. He has served as chairman of the government affairs committee for cleft
palate and craniofacial anomalies to improve access and care in the Southeast.
Friedman’s selfless dedication to his patients, students, residents and colleagues
and the significant contributions to his profession during his 34 year career are
a testament to his limitless energy and outstanding commitment to the School of Medicine.
Rajeev K. Bais, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases, Internal Medicine
Rajeev Bais, M.D., M.P.H., joined the faculty of the Department of Internal Medicine,
Division of Infectious Diseases, in 2016. Since joining the faculty, Bais has successfully
launched the Carolina Survivor Clinic (CSC), the only refugee health clinic within
South Carolina. CSC supports 300 patients and 60 families from countries in all of
the continents. CSC services provide patient care in the traditional clinical setting,
mental health support, English as a second language classes, home-based medical care
and several community programs.
Two community-based programs of particular note are the Scholastic Soccer Program
and the Survivor Garden Project. The Scholastic Soccer Program is dedicated to enriching
refugee youth by motivating them through soccer and academic programs. The program
meets twice a week and provides academic tutoring, English as a second language instruction,
and soccer practice for over 50 refugee youth. The Survivor Garden Project, run in
collaboration with the USC Office of Sustainability, provides garden plots to refugees
so that they can have a quiet place to grow their own food, seek solace and healing,
improve their English skills and social integration and increase physical activity.
Bais’ programs benefit the refugee community and provide a vehicle for students and
volunteers to learn about refugees and the problems they have faced in their countries.
Bais always has students shadowing in the clinic or volunteering with the community-based
Gavin V. Truong, Medical Student, Class of 2019
As president of the School of Medicine Medical Student Association during his second
year of medical school, Gavin Truong has been very involved in promoting medical student
involvement in community service. Last year Truong partnered with Dr. Rajeev Bais
and the Carolina Survivors Clinic to help start the Scholastic Soccer program. This
organization serves refugee youth in our community and helps them with their school
work so that they are able to succeed in school with the end goal of being able to
go to college. The students have tutoring and soccer practice three times a week but
they must attend tutoring sessions to go to soccer practice. Truong has given countless
hours of his time to these refugee youth. He knows all of the students on a personal
level and has attended events at their schools. He has worked with other people and
organizations to get equipment, set-up field trips and arranged transportation for
students to get to practice and tutoring. In the demanding days of the second year
of medical school, Truong devoted his time and energy to these youth. He is selfless,
humble and never asks for any recognition for all of the work that he does. When the
kids see Truong their faces light up. He is truly a role model and a big brother to
many of these children.
William H. Hester, MD,Assistant Dean for Medical Student Education - Florence
Dr. William "Bill" Hester joined the faculty of the School of Medicine in 1981. He
served as the program director for the McLeod Family Medicine Residency Program in
Florence, S.C., for 32 years. In 2014 he was named the assistant dean for medical
student education - Florence and established the School of Medicine-Florence regional
campus. He has had a tremendous impact on the creation of the regional campus, significantly
advancing the educational mission of the School of Medicine. What makes Hester's accomplishments
so incredible is that he already had a long and successful career as an educator and
family medicine physician. Then in his mid-seventies, when many would have been retired,
the call came that the School of Medicine needed a leader to help establish the regional
campus, and he answered it.
Hester has worked tirelessly for the past four years to establish a regional campus
that already is receiving high praise from our students and faculty for its individualized
approach to medical education. He has been a one man show who has recruited each faculty
member to the program and personally mentored the more than 30 students who are in
or already completed the program there. He rallied the community around the establishment
of the regional campus and directs an innovative program that connects our students
with leaders in the community from government, business, education and healthcare.
The students have been very appreciative of his efforts with them and see him as both
their surrogate grandfather and mentor who is full of both wisdom and advice in equal
measure. When Hester retires later this year it will be with the full knowledge that
he has not only set a high bar for whomever assumes the role of assistant dean but
that he has left a lasting legacy on Florence and the Pee Dee for years to come. While
the launch of the Florence Regional campus has had its challenges, Hester has risen
to each one and the program would not be the success it is today without him. His
outstanding leadership of this important initiative has been invaluable to the School
Ruth A. Riley, MS, Assistant Dean for Executive Affairs & Director of Library Services
Ruth Riley, M.S., has served as director of library services since 2000, and as assistant
dean for executive affairs since 2012. Riley has shown distinguished leadership in
both her roles while serving as a leader in national and regional library associations.
She was recently recognized for her role as past president of the Association of Academic
Health Science Libraries. She also has served as the chair of the Southern Chapter
of the Medical Library Association and the chair of the Partnership Among South Carolina
As director of library services, Riley has built a top-notch library resource. Key
elements include adding LibGuides which are extremely useful to faculty and students,
hosting National Library of Medicine traveling exhibits, and creating the Charles
S. Bryan History of Medicine Room. More critically she has built a team of librarians
and staff who are exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable and actively participate
in training students and faculty in multiple teaching and research venues. The library
resources have been vital for our strategic planning, LCME accreditation, and curriculum
Riley also provides leadership for multiple School of Medicine initiatives in her
role as assistant dean for executive affairs. Much of Riley's work is behind the scenes
as she handles many things that happen without anyone thinking about how they were
orchestrated. She provided incredible support for the various task forces and accreditation
processes with information searches and documents. She also has headed numerous initiatives
for School of Medicine deans including awards events, visits from dignitaries, compiling
the Blueprint report for the Office of the Provost and LCME reports and arranging
for library services for the new Florence campus and the new Medical Group. She has
headed several search committees for important School of Medicine positions and managed
our website when the communications manager position was vacant. She does all of this
while leading a top-rate library and serving at the national level in the Association
of Academic Health Sciences Libraries.
Chandrashekhar Patel, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy
Chandrashekhar "Shekhar" Patel, Ph.D., joined the School of Medicine faculty in 2000.
In 2011, he became the founding director of the Certificate of Graduate Study in Biomedical
Sciences Program. While the program was initially designed as an avenue for students
to enhance their academic background in basic sciences prior to entry into professional
health programs such as medicine and dentistry, under Patel's leadership its mission
has been expanded to include a focus on underrepresented minorities in the health
professions. Since its creation, the program has successfully matriculated over a
dozen women and underrepresented minority applicants into medical and dental schools.
Without the program and Patel's mentorship, many of these individuals would have been
less likely to achieve their career goals.
For over a year, Patel has been working with the faculty at Claflin University, a
historically black university in South Carolina, to develop a pipeline program for
their biology majors to prepare them for a masters in Biomedical Sciences and ultimately
admission into a health professions school. He is very passionate about this program,
even meeting with President Pastides to discuss it. The program is in the final stages
of launching and is expected to become a prototype pathway for other underrepresented
minorities to achieve their goals. Patel is a warm collaborative faculty member who
is seen by his students as both their teacher and mentor. They credit him with helping
them to achieve their professional dreams and it is obvious that he has their best
interests at heart. As the School of Medicine continues to expand its focus on diversity
and inclusion, Patel is already moving the school forward to meet its goals one student
at a time.
Luther F. Carter, PhD, President, Francis Marion University
President of Francis Marion University Fred Carter, Ph.D, has been instrumental in
the development of the Pee Dee Health Education Partnership which includes Francis
Marion University, the University of South Carolina, Carolinas Hospital and McLeod
Regional Medical Center. This unique partnership, working with the South Carolina
Legislature, helped obtain the funding to create the University-of South Carolina
School of Medicine's regional campus in Florence. President Carter saw the need for
improved healthcare in Florence and advocated for funds for the School of Medicine
to advance their mission of opening a regional campus in Florence to help address
healthcare disparities in eastern South Carolina. President Carter's vision of having
medical students train in the Pee Dee has introduced them to the needs of the community
and allowed them to become a valued part of the community and assist in providing
healthcare to the underserved.
President Carter also has been an encouraging voice with the two local hospitals systems
by rallying support for the education of third and fourth year medical students with
their respective medical staff. In the three years since the regional campus opened,
he has remained one of its most ardent supporters. He personally meets with School
of Medicine students annually and secured a state-of-the-art facility for the regional
Carter received his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina and was recognized
by the University's College of Arts and Sciences as its distinguished graduate alumnus
in 2006. He is the recipient of multiple awards for his work as an educator, administrator
and as a community leader. He has also received honorary degrees from the College
of Charleston, Lander University and The Citadel. His entire career has been in public
service and his efforts will leave a lasting legacy for the School of Medicine.
Daniel Bernard Green, Orthopedic Technician, Orthopedic Surgery
Bernard Green has made a positive difference with every person he touches or comes
in contact with at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and now Palmetto Health-USC
Orthopedics for close to 40 years. His specialty as a cast technician did not come
from formal education or training, but from hard work and determination. He picked
up his craft by watching and learning from others. The Orthopedic Surgery Department
depends on Bernard for all casts and any cast that may be a challenge or may need
a little extra care. Green's "job" may be cast tech; however, there is not a day that he
is not seen helping direct a person who may be lost. He truly wants to make sure that
all patients are taken care of regardless of department. Green greets and shares his
memorable smile with everyone he meets. He epitomizes the description of the Sustained
Service Award: a person who consistently demonstrates ongoing commitment to improving
the School of Medicine, exceeds his or her job responsibilities and helps create a
positive work environment. He is one of the finest employees at the School of Medicine.
Lynn K. Thomas, DrPH, RD, Assistant Dean for Preclinical Curriculum
Lynn Thomas, DrPH, R.D., joined the faculty of the School of Medicine in 1996. She
has served with distinction as a teacher, scholar and administrator. As assistant
dean for preclinical curriculum since 2002, she consistently has demonstrated a commitment
to improving the educational experience for our students while also serving as director
of the nutrition curriculum.
Thomas was recruited to the School of Medicine from the VA Hospital as a teacher.
The curriculum was desperately in need of an individual to provide nutrition instruction
and Thomas made the decision to leave her position as a nutritionist to enter academics.
Through a Fullerton Foundation Grant, she developed one of the first web-based courses
and expanded the nutrition curriculum from a few lectures into a true vertical curriculum
spanning all four years of medical education. She was the first to develop individual
modules in nutrition that matched educational goals with individual clerkships and
required students to complete these modules while on their clerkships.
As a scholar, Thomas has made substantial contributions in the areas of nutrition
and medical student education with published papers, educational grants and speaking
invitations at the state and national levels. She has been the "go to" faculty member
for faculty and students needing data structured in a cohesive and understandable
fashion and was instrumental in developing the first research proposal for the ultrasound
curriculum. She has served as a reviewer for Journal of Family Medicine and Journal
of the American Dietetic Association and her co-editorship of a textbook on renal
nutrition has given her national recognition.
Thomas has been involved in every aspect of medical education from managing the Office
of Curricular Affairs and Media Resources, serving on numerous committees, overseeing
compliance with LCME standards in the preclinical curriculum, and serving as chief
proctor to the National Board of Medical Examiners. She has overseen implementation
of the OASIS scheduling system for third and fourth year medical students and served
as an education mentor for junior faculty and advisor for first and second year medical
students in academic difficulty. She has demonstrated maturity of judgment, personal
and professional integrity, leadership, and commitment to institutional goals that
make her a credit to the School of Medicine and to the University.
2017 Dean's Award Winners
Eight service awards were presented in 2017. Find out more about each recipient below.
Dr. C. Warren Derrick, Jr. is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Pediatrics.
He served as the chair of Pediatrics when the School of Medicine was founded and held
the position for 29 years from 1977 to 2006. Simultaneously, he held the position
of Director of Pediatric Education at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.
In the early years as chairman, Dr. Derrick initiated events to recognize outstanding
pediatricians and to foster professional growth in pediatrics. The first Carolina
Cup Symposium, in conjunction with the horse race in Camden, was held in 1979 to offer
CME and to bring alumni together. In 1980, the Department established the Weston Award
and held the first Weston Award Banquet. In 1983, Dr. Derrick helped start the children's
hospital within a hospital - the state's first children's hospital – and worked with
others to establish in 2008 the state’s first free-standing children's hospital, the
Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital.
Under Dr. Derrick's leadership, the Pediatric residency program grew from four to
nine residents in each class. The residency program has consistently had one of the
highest board pass rates in the nation, and the department has won best clinical teaching
department from the third year medical students for all but two years in the last
In 1993, the Department of Pediatrics assumed administrative oversight of the Center
for Disability Resources which resulted in a significant service contract with state
agencies and research projects of national significance. In 1994, the directors of
the four children's hospitals in South Carolina collaborated on the creation of statewide
Developmental Education Centers. Dr. Derrick wrote two successful proposals to the
Duke Endowment for funding child abuse services in South Carolina and creation of
the South Carolina Institute for Childhood Obesity and Related Disorders.
Dr. Derrick retired as chairman of the department in 2006 but has continued to attend
in the teaching clinic, serve on the Admissions Committee, interview pediatric residency
applicants and serve as the medical director for the School of Medicine Medical Home
As one of the foundation stones upon which the USC School of Medicine was built, Dr.
Derrick’s wisdom and calm demeanor helped to bring stability to the school in its
early years. His excellence as a clinical pediatrician and educator, and his outstanding
leadership of the pediatrics department and the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital
have built a legacy of service that will endure for many years to come.
Erik Van Eperen is a Class of 2018 medical student who has become an integral part
of the Columbia community through numerous community service activities. He’s been
a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands since November 2015. He
was paired with a then nine year old boy who lives with his mother and four sisters
and needed a positive male presence in his life.
Erik participated in Columbia’s 2017 annual Point in Time Count (PIT Count) of Homelessness,
a study mandated by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. He collected
and disseminated items as incentives for the Columbia homeless population to participate
in the PIT Count survey and helped give the survey at community events where homeless
Erik is a co-founder of Inspire Sports, a nonprofit organization in Wisconsin which
helps organizations and high school athletic teams build leaders by sharing their
passion with individuals with special needs. He is working with high schools in the
Midlands to implement this program in South Carolina. Erik also volunteers his time
to assist with free sports physicals for high school student athletes in the Midlands.
Erik also sat on the South Carolina Set Aside Review Committee, which allocates federal
Emergency Food and Shelter funds to jurisdictions with unmet needs. He will also be
acting as the advisor for the Healthy Futures focus area on the South Carolina Commission
on National and Community Service (SC Commission) Grant Review Committee that decides
which organizations will receive state AmeriCorps funding.
Seth A. Thomas was a Class of 2020 medical student who articulated that service to
others was a core value in his life and consistently demonstrated this with his actions.
During the final month of his life, he was serving with other students, offering critical
women’s care services in the developing community of Cusco, Peru. His strong values,
dedication to service, and respect for others had shortly before that been recognized
by Seth’s selection to serve as a student representative from the Class of 2020 on
the School of Medicine Honor Council. Seth was also the Secretary/Treasurer of the
Class of 2020. Seth’s commitment to helping those in great need exemplifies the highest
values of the School of Medicine and embodies the concept of servant leadership.
Dr. James Stallworth, Professor of Pediatrics, Pediatrics, has exhibited outstanding
leadership in the School of Medicine’s teaching mission. In the last two years, he
has been instrumental in the success of the new regional campus in Florence and of
the new Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program.
As special assistant to the Dean for the regional campus in Florence, Dr. Stallworth
has diligently worked to facilitate the success of the Florence campus medical education
program. His contributions have ranged from advising students to his work as the pediatric
clerkship director in establishing the clerkship in Florence and assisting other clerkship
directors with the transition. He also serves an excellent advocate for the Florence
program to other Columbia campus faculty and has contributed to the successful recruitment
of Florence physicians as teaching faculty.
As the first medical director for the PA Studies Program, Dr. Stallworth helped establish
the curriculum, facilitated communication with clinical providers, and assisted clerkship
directors in developing a plan for incorporation of PA students into existing medical
student clerkships. He also helped recruit new clinical teaching sites and interviewed
new faculty and prospective students. His reputation and standing in the School of
Medicine provided the “glue and connectivity” during the program planning. His effort,
passion, and commitment to the PA program have truly contributed to its success.
Dr. Stallworth simultaneously maintains the excellence of the pediatric clerkship,
excels in his role as director of medical student recruitment, and demonstrates excellence
in teaching as demonstrated by his recognition as Teacher of the Year by the Class
of 2016. He has also directed the yearly Pediatric Hilton Head Update which brings
national recognition to the School of Medicine and to the Department of Pediatrics.
Dr. Mitzi Nagarkatti is the SmartState Endowed Chair of Center for Cancer Drug Discovery,
Carolina Distinguished Professor, and Chair of the Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
Department. Since joining the School of Medicine in 2005, she has enhanced the climate
of diversity and inclusion in the School of Medicine through several initiatives.
Dr. Nagarkatti has established collaborative programs for the training of diverse
scientists. Through the Institute of International Education, she hosted the first
Iraqi Rescue Scholar at the School of Medicine. Currently seven Iraqi students who
are supported through the Higher Committee of Education Development in Iraq and the
Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Iraq are pursuing doctoral
degrees in Dr. Nagarkatti’s lab. She has also established a collaborative program
of education and research with the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Additionally,
Dr. Nagarkatti has trained international scientists and students from over 15 countries
in her lab.
Dr. Nagarkatti has developed programs for students to gain knowledge of international
cultures while pursuing their studies. She has traveled to several countries to establish
agreements with international universities for student and faculty exchanges which
have enabled medical students to study abroad in China and Kazakhstan in the area
of complementary and alternative medicine. A contingent of five faculty paid by China
Medical University in Taiwan are expected to visit there this year to develop collaborative
research on traditional Chinese medicine. In addition, 17 medical students have expressed
interest in pursuing a summer program on global health in Taiwan and China. Dr. Nagarkatti
has also established an incentive program to encourage departmental faculty to train
undergraduate students through the USC TRIO initiative for low-income and first-generation
Representative G. Murrell Smith, Jr. was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives
in 2001 to serve District 67 in Sumter County.
Representative Smith’s strong commitment to enhancing the delivery of health care
in rural areas of South Carolina has been instrumental in providing support for the
School of Medicine’s rural health initiatives over the past two years. His vision
of a stronger rural health workforce has helped the School of Medicine gain legislative
support for the South Carolina Center for Rural Health and Primary Care. The mission
of this center is to support and develop rural and primary care education, delivery,
and sustainability in South Carolina through clinical practice, training, and research.
Representative Smith’s advocacy for the center has led to support for other initiatives
increasing health care services to South Carolina residents, especially those in rural
Representative Smith currently serves as Chairman of the Health and Human Services
Subcommittee on the House Ways and Means Committee. He served on the House Judiciary
Committee until 2009 and was First Vice Chairman of the Committee and Chairman of
the Criminal Laws Subcommittee. He has received numerous awards including the Legislator
of the Year for the South Carolina Human Services Providers Association, the Legislation
Award for South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation, the South Carolina Primary Health
Care Association Award and the Community Health Center Champion Award.
Rachel Peters has served the School of Medicine for over 35 years in numerous roles
with excellence, dedication, and commitment. For the past twenty years, she has provided
outstanding service as the Administrative Director of the Department of Pediatrics.
She previously worked in the departments of Neuropsychiatry and Microbiology.
During her tenure as Administrative Director of Pediatrics, Ms. Peters has helped
guide its growth while maintaining its financial stability and strength. Her dedication
and commitment to the School of Medicine and to the department are unsurpassed. Without
any fanfare, she consistently works long hours to keep the department functioning
Ms. Peters has served on numerous committees in Pediatrics and in the School of Medicine
including the Wellness Promotion Committee, the Committee on Women, and the Women
in Science and Medicine Committee. She has also led the Administrative Directors group
and often mentors new administrative directors. Her advice is widely sought by many
faculty and staff. She has also made valuable contributions to the planning and implementation
of the Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group.
Dr. Robert Price, Research Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy, has served as the
Director of the Instrumentation Resource Facility (IRF) since 1995. He was previously
the Manager of the Integrated Microscopic Analysis Facility. Under Dr. Price’s outstanding
leadership, the IRF has become a state-of-the-art facility with over twenty major
pieces of equipment, including systems for electronic microscopy and live cell and
confocal imaging. The IRF strongly support USC’s research and training missions and
is a key resource for recruitment of top-notch investigators. Dr. Price has aggressively
pursued funding to expand the arsenal of biomedical research equipment and developed
a national reputation for the IRF as a leading biomedical research facility.
Dr. Price is a passionate educator who teaches hands-on technical courses to biomedical
graduate students and others in the IRF and has directed numerous confocal microscopy
workshops locally, nationally and internationally. He recently developed a biotechnology
track in the Biomedical Science M.S. program that is designed to help address the
shortage of trained support staff in biomedical research.
Dr. Price is an active researcher with over seventy peer-reviewed publications, over
a dozen book chapters, has served as Editor-in-Chief of Microscopy and Microanalysis,
and is currently the Associate Editor of Microscopy Today. He is currently serving
as President-Elect of the Microscopy Society of America (MSA), the largest organization
in the country focused on the advancement of microscopy and microanalysis.
2016 Dean's Award Winners
Five service awards were presented in 2016.
Career Achievement Award
James R. Augustine, Ph.D. | Associate Professor | Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience
Community Service Award
Beverly Y. Wilson, B.A. | Research Coordinator | Internal Medicine
Brody Hingst | Class of 2019
Dean’s Leadership Award
Marlene A. Wilson, Ph.D. |Professor and Chair | Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience
Friend of the School of Medicine Award
Charles “Chuck” Beaman, Jr. | President and Chief Executive Officer | Palmetto Health
Sustained School of Medicine Service Award
Shawn A. Chillag, M.D. | Professor and Chair | Internal Medicine
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