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South Carolina AHEC and MUSC Partner to Offer RISE Program

Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Rural Interprofessional Student Experience (RISE) is a partnership between the South Carolina AHEC and MUSC College of Health Professions Physician Assistant Program. The RISE program provides PA students with an intensive two-week opportunity to transition from the classroom to clinical phase of their education by providing introductions to the healthcare delivery system, exposure to rural and medically underserved communities, and interprofessional experiences across the state.

While at the hospitals, the students observed interactions among numerous units in the healthcare system as it dealt with challenges of providing healthcare to the rural population of South Carolina.  This educational experience was provided through observational learning, discussions with clinicians, staff, technicians, and patients involved in the system of care within rural and medically underserved areas.  

All four South Carolina AHEC regional centers participated in this year’s RISE program. Below are some highlights.


Lowcountry AHEC


Lowcountry AHEC hosted 15 PA students that were placed at six area hospitals:
  • Allendale County Hospital
  • Coastal Carolina Hospital 
  • Colleton Medical Center
  • Southern Palmetto Hospital 
  • Hampton Regional Medical Center 
  • The Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg  

Students also had an opportunity to tour the Veteran’s Victory House in Walterboro to learn about the federal and state-funded 220-bed facility that serves the long-term care needs of South Carolina veterans.


Mid-Carolina AHEC

Mid-Carolina AHEC hosted 18 students and included speakers such as Janice Dabney, CEO of Springs Hospital, who spoke on hospital economics. The students also learned about mental health in private practice, telemedicine/telestroke, psychology, diabetes in private practice, and START triage (Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment). Mid-Carolina finished the day with homemade ice cream for the students and coordinators.

Five hospitals in the Mid-Carolina region hosted students:
  • Springs Memorial Hospital
  • KershawHealth Hospital
  • Newberry County Memorial Hospital
  • Chester Regional Hospital
  • Mary Black Health System, Gaffney 


Pee Dee AHEC


Along with the Pee Dee AHEC health professions student coordinators and the eight hospital coordinators, these PA students observed and learned numerous aspects of the application of medicine and the rural hospital infrastructure. The students lived and worked in the community for two weeks as a precursor to their year of clinical rotations. 

Sixteen PA students participated in RISE at eight hospitals in the Pee Dee region. The participating hospitals were:
  • Carolinas Hospital Systems, Florence and Marion
  • Clarendon Healthcare
  • Lake City Community Hospital 
  • McLeod Health, Dillon, Loris and Seacoast 
  • Tuomey Regional Medical Center 


Upstate AHEC 

Upstate AHEC hosted 10 PA students placed at two hospitals in the region:
  • Edgefield County Hospital
  • Cannon Memorial Hospital

Because the hospitals are two of the more rural hospitals in the Upstate region, students were able to get an excellent idea of the realities of rural medicine.

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