Friday, September 28, 2018

Ann Lefebvre Selected as Next South Carolina AHEC Executive Director

It is with great pleasure that South Carolina AHEC announces its next executive director, Ann Lefebvre, MSW, CPHQ. Ann succeeds Dr. David Garr, who is retiring after more than 15 years leading the South Carolina AHEC program.

Ann comes to the South Carolina AHEC with extensive experience as the associate director of the North Carolina AHEC program.  She has leadership experience in strategic planning methods and the incorporation of new programs into an existing organization’s infrastructure. She has been directing the North Carolina Practice Support Program, a statewide, quality improvement initiative serving primary care practices with a focus on improving clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. This program has been recognized nationally as a model for practice facilitation and coaching. Ann has helped secure more than $35 million in federal, state and philanthropic funds and has championed the use of technology in the provision of clinical care.  She has collaborated and consulted with state and federal agencies and academic health systems to advance population health and respond to evolving health care needs. 

Ann received her Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Hearing Handicapped Education from Plattsburgh State University and a Master of Social Work from East Carolina University. She has a faculty appointment at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine. 

Ann will join the South Carolina AHEC Program Office on November 19. Please join us in welcoming her to our state, our communities and our South Carolina AHEC System.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

South Carolina AHEC Program Office Welcomes CeCe Heyward

We would like to welcome CeCe Heyward to the South Carolina AHEC Program Office. CeCe is the Education and Evaluation Coordinator and provides essential support for South Carolina AHEC statewide projects.  She joins the project teams for many of the AHEC system’s federal, state and foundation-sponsored projects and evaluation initiatives. CeCe also serves as a liaison to partners across the state, working closely with faculty, health professionals, health professions students, regional AHEC center teams and more.

CeCe brings with her more than six years of experience coordinating and managing the implementation of multiple HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and endowment/foundation grant initiatives focused on oral health education and dental disease treatment and prevention from her previous position in the College of Dental Medicine’s Division of Population Oral Health.  CeCe has a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University in fashion merchandising and apparel design and a Masters of Public Health from MUSC with a concentration in health behavior and health promotion. CeCe is a native of Hollywood, SC, and has a son who is very comical and keeps her laughing.

Welcome CeCe! She can be reached at or 843-792-9833. 

Lowcountry AHEC Partners to Support Research Programs

Pictured: Ormarie Vazquez Silva with the course
instructor, Wilma Rice, 

Since 2006, Lowcountry AHEC has collaborated with the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research (SCTR) Institute at MUSC to provide essential trainings to researchers: “Basic EKG” and “Phlebotomy Skills for the Healthcare Professional.” 
Research studies have many criteria, which are different for each study. Participant recruitment is important to the studies and involves evaluating an individual’s health as well as other criteria, such as the existence of co-morbidities. These evaluations enable participants to be matched with studies based on their health and profiles. 
It is to the researcher’s advantage, as well as beneficial to MUSC, to have the required skills in phlebotomy and EKG so that all testing can be done internally. Ormarie Vazquez Silva, who is a program assistant at SCTR, attended the most recent “Basic EKG” course on August 30. “The accessibility of bringing these programs to the MUSC campus is an advantage for researchers and employees alike,” emphasizes Ms. Vazquez Silva.
Lowcountry AHEC looks forward to continued partnership supporting research initiatives and healthcare innovation in the lowcountry and beyond.
To find out more about Lowcountry AHEC's programming, visit their website.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

2018 South Carolina AHEC Excellence Awards

Gateway Award

The South Carolina AHEC Gateway Award recognizes individuals who are committed to furthering the development of future health professionals and are distinguished in their service to students in the health careers pipeline. This year’s Gateway Award recipient is Jay Blankenship MBA, HRV.

Mr. Blankenship works for the South Carolina Department of Commerce and has partnered with Upstate AHEC for more than eight years. He has contributed his time, talent, and resources to Upstate AHEC’s Health Careers Program in various ways, funding projects for HCP’s high school students such as college tours, SAT/ACT workshops, student scholarships, healthcare literacy projects and workforce-readiness workshops for high school and college students across the Upstate. Mr. Blankenship was also responsible for providing classroom sets of literature to HCP’s high school and college students. Through his work at the South Carolina Department of Commerce and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Youth Advisory Council, Jay has also been very instrumental in strategically aligning community partnerships for Upstate AHEC including the Hispanic Alliance, Fox News, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Goodwill Industries.  

Mr. Blankenship has roots in South Carolina: he graduated from South Carolina State University with a B.S in Marketing as well as an M.A and M.B.A from Webster University. He has a passion for closing gaps in underrepresented and underserved minority communities and believes that all people are created equal and should be afforded the opportunity to receive a quality education, become self-sufficient and be economically successful. He actively participates in building a strong future healthcare workforce in South Carolina. He is intentional in including Upstate AHEC’s eleven counties and beyond by providing tangible resources and current information for student success and for that we recognize him as this year’s Gateway Award recipient.

Practice of the Year Award

The South Carolina AHEC Practice of the Year Award recognizes practices and training sites that exhibit exemplary dedication to the teaching of health professions students and a commitment to serving their communities. The South Carolina AHEC recognizes Beaufort Memorial Harrison Peeples Health Care Center as the 2017 Practice of the Year. 

Established in 1991, the Harrison Peeples Health Care Center provides a full range of general adult and pediatric outpatient medical care from diagnosis and treatment to case management and total coordination of care across the life spectrum. The 24-member staff includes board-certified family medicine physicians, a board-certified internist, a physician assistant, family medicine nurse practitioners and a pediatric nurse practitioner.

Lowcountry AHEC health professions students have benefited from a wide variety of experiences with the Harrison Peeples team. The providers give students practical experience and a true taste of the family practice needs. Each year the practitioners and staff volunteer to provide hours of clinical education to students from various health professions programs. In fact, the site has been precepting for Lowcountry AHEC since 1994 when Dr. Shealy was a preceptor with the South Carolina Rural Interdisciplinary Program of Training (SCRIPT).  From June 2016 through December 2017, the Harrison Peeples team precepted eleven MUSC student rotations.

It is evident that the team at Beaufort Memorial Harrison Peeples Health Care Center enjoys assisting the students with their growth and development. They believe that supporting future health care providers in each of their roles is paramount to their community’s success. This community-based education provides students with opportunities to grow and serve. It is their dedication to the education of the next generation of health professionals that allows their students to be better prepared to excel in health care. 

Preceptor of the Year Award

The South Carolina AHEC Preceptor of the Year Award recognizes unwavering commitment to health professions students’ clinical education. This award distinguishes an outstanding community-based preceptor serving South Carolina health professions students. Each year practitioners volunteer to provide hours of clinical education to students from various professions. It is their dedication to the education of the next generation of health professionals that we honor with this award. This year’s Preceptor of the Year is William A. Chinery, MD.

Dr. William A. Chinery has 25 years’ experience as a pediatrician and ten years’ experience as an educator. He is a strong supporter of giving back to his profession and does so as an exemplary preceptor in the area of pediatrics. He is an advocate for one of our most vulnerable populations—infants/children, as well as the family units supporting these children. When asked his willingness to support interprofessional simulation training on USC Lancaster’s regional campus, Dr. Chinery was one of the first physicians to say “YES” and “WHEN.”  He is an AHEC coordinator’s model preceptor!

According to one student:
He is an exceptionally rare educator with a kindness and passion that are at a level above and beyond what is expected. He makes a conscious effort to dedicate time to answer and explain any questions that may be asked to him. Additionally, he empowers students to become active participants in all the aspects of the patient’s care—from working side by side with him to one-on-one with the staff to run diagnostic tests. 

Dr. Chinery has the unique ability to assist students in advancing their professional learning outcomes while enhancing their ability to connect to and build relationships with patients, families and communities. Students leave Dr. Chinery’s practice with a desire to elevate their professional development with new information and skills. Dr. Chinery challenges his students to not only become truly engaged in the health and welfare of the patient, but to become advocates for them as well.  He is a consummate professional, an exceptional preceptor and a joy to work with.

Educator of the Year Award

The South Carolina AHEC Educator of the Year Award recognizes excellence in instructors of continuing professional development in the South Carolina AHEC System. The Educator of the Year is selected based on their ability to present content in a practical, useful format that meets the needs and expectations of the program participants while communicating the material enthusiastically. Educators must also successfully adapt presentations to address multiple learning styles. This year’s Educator of the Year Award recognizes Patricia Moran, MSN, RN, CPAN.

Ms. Moran wears many hats: she is the clinical nurse educator in the post anesthesia care unit at Palmetto Health Richland, adjunct faculty with the University of South Carolina, and most importantly, she is a wife and mother. Since 2006, Trish has worked side by side with Mid-Carolina AHEC to identify, develop and administer continuing professional development programs focused on improving and enhancing nursing education from the bedside to management and leadership. She is always eager to share her knowledge, experience and passion with health professionals in our state.  

She has always received positive feedback from the participants.  Participants from past programs noted her use of illustrations and cases as useful teaching tools for keeping the class focused and interesting. They remark on her excellent instructional skills and participant engagement. Mid-Carolina looks forward to continued partnership with Ms. Moran.

Michel Porter AHEC Ambassador Award

The Michel Porter AHEC Ambassador Award is presented to a South Carolina AHEC staff member who has made a major contribution to the enhancement of the South Carolina AHEC by exhibiting excellence in the following categories: attitude, helpfulness, empowerment and creativity. This year, South Carolina AHEC is proud to bestow the award to Mid-Carolina AHEC Center Director Cheri Plyler.

Cheri joined Mid-Carolina AHEC as center director in 2001. Prior to that, she served as associate director for Catawba-Wateree AHEC. She is an active National AHEC Organization member serving on the Education Committee, center directors peer mentoring and peer review panels for both the Model AHEC and Bioterrorism Projects. Her current board appointments include Lancaster County’s Partners for Youth, Diabetes Education Center and Upper Midlands Rural Health Network.

Cheri was nominated in recognition for serving as a role model for staff, where she tirelessly works to serve the AHEC mission, vision and goals every day. She provides exemplary and quality leadership where she leads by example with her positive attitude, strategic collaboration and creative thinking and spirit. One letter of support for the award recognized her as “the most hardworking and the most helpful person that I can imagine working with in the whole system of AHEC” and that “there has never been a problem that I have had that she did not help me with.”  Subsequent letters emphasized that Cheri “is very passionate about her work, demonstrating a lot of enthusiasm about the importance of education in the healthcare community.” That enthusiasm, passion and helpfulness are just part of the reasons why Cheri Plyler is 2018’s Michele Porter AHEC Ambassador Award winner.

Congratulations to this year’s award recipients!

South Carolina AHEC Scholars Program Now Accepting Applications

The South Carolina AHEC Scholars program is a part of a national initiative to prepare a tomorrow’s health professionals to become leaders in interprofessional, transformative practice to serve rural and underserved populations in our state. AHEC Scholars will join the cutting edge of health professions training with students from multiple health profession disciplines across the state.
The program consists of didactic and experiential training opportunities with a focus on interprofessional primary care and service to rural and underserved populations. AHEC Scholars will receive preference for innovative, team-based clinical fieldwork placements, in addition to networking opportunities with state leaders and primary care professionals from across the state.
The AHEC Scholars program provides an innovative approach to improving the health of our state by utilizing one of our greatest assets, our future health profession workforce. Through the various educational activities, AHEC Scholars will learn about practice transformation, telehealth, quality improvement, and social determinants to prepare them to address the unique challenges and strengths of our state.  Additionally, through quality improvement projects in rural and underserved settings, I believe our AHEC Scholars can help support health care transformation in South Carolina. 
-Jennifer Bailey, Assoc. Program Director for Education & Evaluation, SC AHEC
The AHEC Scholars program provides students with innovative, interprofessional training and mentoring focused on building the skills and competencies needed to help transform primary care and improve patient care. South Carolina AHEC Scholars will receive a certificate recognizing them as leaders in primary care upon completion, setting them apart during job search and/or subsequent residency match.

AHEC Scholars is currently accepting applications from USC and MUSC (see website for program eligibility details). Preference will be given to individuals with/that meet one or more of the following:

  • South Carolina resident
  • Rural background
  • Commitment to a rural lifestyle
  • Commitment to primary care
  • Underrepresented minority
  • Disadvantaged background

To find out more about the program, learn about eligibility requirements, participation benefits and how to apply, visit the South Carolina AHEC website.