The University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville is a four-year medical
program developed as a partnership between the University of South Carolina (USC)
and the Greenville Health System (GHS).
USC, founded in 1801 in Columbia, SC, currently has a research flagship university
in Columbia, four-year campus locations in Aiken, Beaufort and Spartanburg, and two-year
campus locations in Lancaster, Sumter, Salkehatchie (Allendale and Walterboro) and
Union (Union and Laurens). Total annual student enrollment at the University is approximately
44,500. The Columbia campus has more than 324 degree programs through its 15 degree-granting
colleges and schools. Its faculty generated $212 million in funding for research,
outreach, and training programs in fiscal year 2010
GHS, founded as a city hospital in 1912, is a public not-for-profit academic health
system committed to clinical healthcare delivery, workforce education and development
and clinical research. Over the years, GHS has progressed from a standalone hospital
to an integrated delivery system with academic teaching and research programs. As
a public hospital with five campuses, 1,200 beds and nearly 600 employed physicians,
GHS provides comprehensive health care for the 10-county upstate region of South Carolina
and beyond. As both the safety net hospital and the major provider of specialty services,
GHS is the predominant healthcare resource in the region. Currently, GHS has a Level
I Trauma Center and Level III neonatal ICU designation. It is the largest provider
of cardiovascular and obstetrical services and the only provider of children's services
in the region. GHS has a rich academic history; currently there are 177 residents
and fellows in 11 ACGME-accredited postgraduate residencies and fellowships and more
than 550 clinical trials, 100 annual peer-reviewed publications, and 250 national
peer-reviewed presentations annually. GHS is the third largest provider of continuing
medical education in South Carolina, granting 900 total hours of educational programming
to more than 10,000 physicians in 2010.
USC's participation in undergraduate medical education dates back to the 1960s. After
an extended planning period, which resulted in preliminary accreditation by the Liaison
Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the USC School of Medicine Columbia matriculated
its first class in February 1977. The charter class graduated in May 1981, at which
time the school achieved full LCME accreditation.
GHS began offering elective rotations for fourth-year medical students from the USC
School of Medicine Columbia in 1983. Citing a common interest in healthcare education
and the acknowledgment of the robust clinical activity at GHS, USC and GHS partnered
to create a regional clinical teaching campus of the USC School of Medicine in Greenville
in 1991. Since that time, 15 to 30 students annually relocate from Columbia to Greenville
to complete their clinical clerkships at GHS.
Acknowledging that South Carolina faces chronic shortages of healthcare professionals
in both number and geographic distribution (ranking 37th nationally in physicians
per 100,000 population ), discussions quickly gravitated towards expansion of the
undergraduate medical education program. Given the physical and clinical capacity
constraints at the existing state medical schools, as well as the continued budgetary
challenges facing the State University System, a partnership between GHS and USC was
viewed as a potential mechanism to address the State's physician workforce needs.
With the abundant clinical resources in Greenville, the most logical growth strategy
involved expanding the campus at GHS to a four-year medical school with separate LCME
In the spring of 2009, USC and GHS authorized a feasibility study to examine the creation
of a four-year medical program in Greenville. The findings of that study, presented
to leadership in August 2009, included the following: 1) The medical school expansion
is consistent with the mission statements and goals of the respective institutions.
2) There exists a successful 27-year history between USC and GHS of working together
to create, manage and deliver existing medical education programs. 3) There exists
an administrative vehicle capable of creating and overseeing a medical school. 4)
There appears to be a qualified prospective medical student applicant pool in South
Carolina capable of supporting an additional medical campus. 5) The existence of a
de facto clinical faculty with experience in undergraduate medical education is already
in place at GHS. 6) The size and composition of existing and potential cash flows
is sufficient to both capitalize the startup cost and ensure ongoing operational integrity
of the program.
Based on the findings of the feasibility study, the Boards of Trustees of GHS and
USC instructed regional academic campus leader and USC Associate Dean Jerry R. Youkey,
M.D. to develop a comprehensive plan for a school of medicine in Greenville. USC School
of Medicine Greenville applied for Applicant School status with the LCME in January
2010. Dr. Youkey appointed former USC President Dr. Andrew Sorensen to commission
a joint task force of USC and GHS faculty and administration to create a comprehensive
plan for the School of Medicine in Greenville. The task force completed its work in
May 2010. From this, a Foundational Agreement was established, a multi-year financial
projection completed and the mission, vision, goals and Guiding Principles were established.
On August 6, 2010, the Boards of Trustees of GHS and USC approved by proclamation
the creation of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.
The national accrediting body for medical schools (the Liaison Committee on Medical
Education) granted preliminary accreditation in October 2011, which qualified the
school to begin receiving applications through the American Medical College Application
The School matriculated its inaugural class in the fall of 2012.
The USC School of Medicine Greenville received full accreditation from LCME in the
fall of 2015.
On March 18, 2016, the charter class celebrated a 100 percent residency placement
rate during the school’s inaugural Match Day ceremony, and in May, the Class of 2016
became the first to graduate from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine
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