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Past Winners


Dean’s Distinguished Service Awards


Career Achievement Award

Richard L. Frierson, MD
Clinical Professor, Vice Chair of Education, Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science

Richard L. Frierson, M.D., has made significant contributions to the field of psychiatry and forensic psychiatry, over his 26-year career as both a member of the faculty and an alumnus of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia. As the Palmetto Health-USC School of Medicine Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program Director, Frierson has been directly responsible for the education of 30 forensic trainees and countless residents who have gone on to have successful careers.

In addition to his primary duties with the fellowship program, he has embraced additional duties as the vice chairman for education within the Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science. He is responsible for all medical student education, residency training programs, and fellowship training programs in the department. Frierson also has edited two nationally recognized psychiatry textbooks and authored more than 40 publications in national peer-reviewed journals and book chapters on various topics in general and forensic psychiatry. At the national-level, Frierson currently serves as president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL), the largest forensic psychiatry organization in the United States. He also is a past president of the Association of Directors of Forensic Psychiatry Fellowships, and has received several national awards.


Community Service Award

Anil V. Yallapragada, MD
Assistant Professor, Neurology
Medical Director, Palmetto Health Stroke Center

Anil Yallapragada, M.D., is a neurologist with Palmetto Health-USC Neurology, and currently serves as medical director of the Prisma Health - Midlands Stroke Center. He also is an assistant professor of neurology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia. He received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, completed a neurology residency at the University of Chicago, and a vascular neurology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Ronald Reagan Medical Center.

In 2017, Yallapragada started the Holy Stroke initiative to inspire and uplift his community, connecting religious and health care organizations. In doing so, he hopes to prevent strokes, one church at a time. He organized a team of volunteers (Prisma Health nurses and phlebotomists and School of Medicine and UofSC undergraduate students) that has visited over 15 churches in the Midlands. The team delivers health lectures, conducts health assessments, performs blood draws,and provides educational booklets on stroke awareness. Yallapragada also is currently the President of the Midlands American Heart Association board and chair of the DHEC Stroke Advisory council, helping to shape both primary prevention and improve stroke outcomes throughout South Carolina.


Dean’s Leadership Award

William D. Anderson III, MD
Clinical Professor, Family and Preventive Medicine
Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer

William D. Anderson III, M.D., serves as the associate dean for clinical affairs and chief medical officer for Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. A graduate of the University of South Carolina Honors College in Columbia, he received his medical degree from and completed his family medicine residency training at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He received his master's degree in health care management from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Anderson was heavily involved in creating and implementing the vision to create the Palmetto Health-Medical Group. He provided key leadership during the clinical integration and contributed greatly to the strategic decisions for the new organization. Anderson’s strong leadership has contributed greatly to the service and education missions of the School of Medicine. He has demonstrated outstanding commitment to a high quality medical learning environment for medical students and residents and consistently provided strategic oversight of clinical policies for School of Medicine faculty. As founder of the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Health Care, he has helped secure over $30 million in resources to support health professions education, primary and specialty care, health workforce development and innovations for South Carolina's rural communities.


Dean’s Leadership Award

Charles T. McElmurray, MD
Clinical Associate Professor, Family and Preventive Medicine
John A. Martin Primary Health Care Center

Charles McElmurray, M.D., has been on faculty with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia since 1992, serving as clinical faculty within the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. McElmurray earned his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and completed his residency at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

Clinically, McElmurray has been a full-spectrum family medicine physician in the rural town of Winnsboro, S.C., for more than 25 years. He was the founding physician of the John A Martin Primary Care Center, a unique collaboration between the several of the UofSC health science programs and community leaders to provide primary care services and health training and research in the area. Winnsboro is a health care shortage area, and for much of the past 27 years McElmurray has been the only prenatal care provider in the entire county. McElmurray has been involved in training medical, pharmacy, social work, nursing, and public health students, and has mentored more than 1,400 health professional students during his career. As a result of McElmurray’s commitment to teaching excellence, the center was recently approved as a continuity training site for family medicine residents beginning in 2020.


Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award

Edie C. Goldsmith, PhD
Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy
SC INBRE Program Director

Edie Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy. She also serves as director of the biomedical science graduate program and the postdoctoral academic career development program. In 2017, she was named program director for the South Carolina IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence (SC INBRE) Program. Goldsmith earned her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and completed a fellowship at the University of South Carolina.

SC INBRE, a National Institutes of Health multi-million dollar, five-year, renewable award program, gives institutional support to 13 member institutions to supports their biomedical research programs. Among these institutions are SC State and Claflin, which both have historically black college and university (HBCU) designation. The program also supports Converse College, a women's college, and Francis Marion University, which has a large population (>35%) of first generation college students. The program also mentors four outreach institutions including Benedict College, which also has HBCU designation. During the current funding cycle (2015 to date), more than 415 students have received training in SC INBRE labs. Of these, more than 175 were males, more than 215 were females, and more than 33 percent were underrepresented minorities. 


Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award

Lucia Pirisi-Creek, MD
Professor, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
SC INBRE Program Coordinator

Lucia Pirisi-Creek, M.D., is a professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology. She is also the program coordinator for the South Carolina IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence (SC INBRE) Program. Pirisi-Creek served as SC INBRE’s program director from 2006 until 2017, and oversaw the program through two competitive renewals. She earned her medical degree from Universita` degli Studi di Sassari in Sassari, Italy.

SC INBRE, a National Institutes of Health multi-million dollar, five-year, renewable award program, gives institutional support to 13 member institutions to supports their biomedical research programs. Among these institutions are SC State and Claflin, which both have historically black college and university (HBCU) designation. The program also supports Converse College, a women's college, and Francis Marion University, which has a large population (>35%) of first generation college students. The program also mentors four outreach institution including Benedict College, which also has HBCU designation. During the current funding cycle (2015 to date), more than 415 students have received training in SC INBRE labs. Of these, more than 175 were males, more than 215 were females, and more than 33 percent were underrepresented minorities. 


Friend of the School of Medicine Award

David L. Omura, DPT, MHA, MS
Director/CEO, Columbia VA Healthcare System and William Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center

David L. Omura, D.P.T., M.H.A., M.S., is director and CEO of the Columbia VA Healthcare System and the William Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Omura provides leadership over a health care system that includes a medical center that is located in Columbia, SC; and seven community-based outpatient clinics that cover the majority of the state of South Carolina. This health care system serves more than 83,000 Veterans, is staffed by more than 2,900 employees, and has an operating budget of $570 million.

The Columbia VA Health Care System (William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center) has been an invaluable partner to the School of Medicine for the past 45 years, and has significantly contributed to the advancement of the School of Medicine's education and research missions. Serving as a major clinical training site for our medical students, the medical staff are valued members of the School of Medicine faculty and contribute many hours to the education of our students through clinical supervision, lecture, small group facilitation, and committee service. Earlier this year, the Columbia VA Health Care System and the SOM partnered to open a state-of-the art simulation center. The facility allows participants to engage in collaborative, multidisciplinary simulation teaching and learning. 


Sustained School of Medicine Service Award

Alexander J. McDonald, PhD
Professor, Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience

Alexander J. McDonald, Ph.D., is currently a professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience. He joined the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia faculty as an assistant professor in 1978, just a year after the school accepted its first class of medical students. Thus, he has taught nearly every UofSC School of Medicine student since the school opened.

McDonald has authored more than one hundred scholarly articles on the anatomy and function of the brain, specifically the brain area called the amygdala. He is a world-renowned authority on amygdalar anatomy, as demonstrated by his numerous speaking invitations to specialized meetings on the topic. He has taught medical neuroanatomy to medical and graduate students and currently serves as the course director for the Fundamental Neuroscience I course for graduate students. Continuously funded by extramural support from the NIH since 1983, McDonald’s extensive research efforts and reputation have earned him both the USC Educational Foundation Research Award in the Health Sciences and the School of Medicine Research Advancement Award.

Harold Friedman

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 Program.

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 Bais

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 programs. 


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 Hester

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 of Medicine.


Ruth Riley

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 Academic Libraries. 

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 innovation processes.

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 campus office.

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 Green

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 Thomas

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. 

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 23 years.

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 Network.

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 members congregate.

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 students.


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 areas.

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 efficiently.

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.

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


William C. Gillespie Staff Recognition Award

Kevin Henessee

2019, Kevin Hennessee, Facilities Management ​


Toni Bracey

2018, Toni Bracey, Basic Sciences Grant Administration


Larry Knott

2017, Larry Knott, Administration and Finance


Nan Barker

  2016, Nan Barker, Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Dora Woodrow

  2015, Dora Woodrow, Human Resources


Stanley LaLarque

  2014, Stanley Laraque, Office of Information Technology


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