Skip to main content

2017 South Carolina AHEC Excellence Awards

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 Morphis Pediatric Group as the 2017 Practice of the Year. Dr. Elizabeth Morphis accepted the award on behalf of the practice at this year’s award luncheon.

Located in Hartsville, the entire interdisciplinary team was recognized by students who experienced firsthand the positive impact of a team effort.  One Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Carolinas Campus student, Karalyn Hillebrecht, writes:
Morphis Pediatrics epitomizes the true meaning of a health care family.  The time I spent with Morphis Pediatrics taught me so much about having a caring and supportive health care team, from diligent nurses and techs, to skilled physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, I have never met a group of more devoted people. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but Morphis Pediatrics will help you raise up healthy ones. 
This “village” includes 7 providers including Dr. James Morphis Jr.; Dr. Elizabeth Morphis; Maggie Flowers, PA-C; and Casey Moore, PNP. Part-time providers include Ondria Sawyer, ND, APRN-BC; Vicky Craig, FNP-C; and Aquilla Bec, NP.  Additionally, this busy practice houses an on-site pharmacist Sarah D. Boan and a lab managed by Jennifer Pritchard.

Preceptor of the Year

Pee Dee AHEC Health Professions
Student Program Coordinator
Traci Coward presents the award
to Dr. Lamb
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 Benjamin Wade Lamb, MD.
I believe that for most medical students, there is usually one rotation that provides that ‘ah-ha’ moment, solidifying for the student the profession in which he or she would like to specialize”, writes one medical student, “For me that moment came while doing a family medicine rotation in Lake City, and in no small part, that moment was because of Dr. Wade Lamb.  Dr. Lamb provided me with an invaluable glance into the positive, generational impact that a family physician can have on a community, and insight into the influential role that can only be appreciated as one experiences it, and not from textbooks . . . Every patient tells a story and, with Dr. Lamb’s knowledge of each patient’s family and unique ties to the community, each patient was an opportunity to learn not just the requisite medical knowledge, but also the equally important humanistic knowledge.
 These student observations are at the very crux of the South Carolina AHEC mission to attract providers to roles in rural communities. Dr. Lamb made such an impact on the student whose words are highlighted above that the student opted to practice family medicine following his clinical rotation at Carolinas Medical Alliance, Lake City Primary Care in Lake City with Dr. Lamb. It is evident how Dr. Lamb’s demeanor impacts both students and patients alike.

Because of the impact he has made on the numerous students he welcomes to family practice rotations, Dr. Benjamin “Wade” Lamb was named as the 2017 Preceptor of the Year by South Carolina AHEC. This locally grown and educated physician is a graduate of both Francis Marion University and University of South Carolina School of Medicine. He completed his residency with McLeod Family Medicine Center and began his practice in Lake City in 2003. Dr. Lamb serves as a Clinical Associate Professor with MUSC/AHEC as well as FSC Assistant Professor of Clinical Family and Preventative Medicine with USC School of Medicine.  He is a Diplomate with the American Board of Family Medicine as well as clinical faculty with Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. An avid outdoorsman Dr. Lamb enjoys hunting and fishing, as well as, coaching several sports in his community. 

Based on student input for his nomination, it is easy to equate Dr. Lamb’s practice as reminiscent of the small town homegrown family doctor to whom generations have entrusted their care. “The kind, compassionate, knowledgeable family physician working to heal the sick in his community is often looked upon with nostalgia from a bygone time.  Dr. Lamb is a needed reminder to students that this role lives on for the physician and is just as needed as it ever was.”

Educator of the Year

Dr. David Garr, Dr. Macie Smith
and Mid-Carolina AHEC CPD
Coordinator Rebecca Jackson
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 Macie Smith, EdD.

Dr. Smith began working with Mid-Carolina AHEC in 2012.  She is a licensed Social Worker that primarily works in Gerontology.  She has over 14 years of experience working with aging and vulnerable populations.  Dr. Smith provides programs related to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, healthy aging, professionalism and ethical practices in social work.

Dr. Smith has a delightful personality and is an excellent communicator with abundant knowledge on a wide range of topics. Her presentations are engaging and she is in high demand as a speaker due to her enthusiasm and connection with her participants. Participants report that Dr. Smith exudes a commitment to the learner and developing their understanding of the material. 

Please visit to find Dr. Smith’s upcoming programs. 

Gateway Award

Dr. David Garr, ZaQuavia Tyler
and HCP Director Angelica Christie
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 ZaQuavia Tyler.

As a Coastal Carolina student, Ms. Tyler took the initiative to charter the Bench to Bedside (B2B) Club at the University, establishing the club as a institutionally-recognized and supported organization. This included identifying a faculty champion to serve as club advisor, organizing ongoing service learning experiences for club members at a local nursing home, coordinating on-campus activities in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and coordinating two on-campus mental health first aid certification trainings for club members. In addition to being a student and organizing all of these activities, she managed the election and training of club offices while completing her final undergraduate semester. The B2B Club became her legacy when she graduated in December 2016 with a double major in biology and biochemistry. She continues to be engaged with the club as a peer mentor.

Ms. Tyler’s peers speak highly of her guidance, encouragement and mentorship, highlighting her exemplary leadership skills and her continued involvement with the club she started.

Michel Porter 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, the South Carolina AHEC is proud to bestow the award to South Carolina AHEC Director of Communications Ali McMenamin.

Ms. McMenamin joined the South Carolina AHEC Program Office in 2013. With nearly four years on the AHEC team, she has served on the continuing professional development council and as a continuing education and communication program coordinator, as well as on the Office for Telehealth team, before transitioning into her current role at the end of 2016.

Lucy Padron, SC AHEC Program Assistant, wrote of Ms. McMenamin in her nomination letter:
With each task Ali approaches, she meets it with an open mind, kind spirit, and eager to better the state attitude. It is hard not to catch her delightful and meaningful attitude each morning when I walk through the door . . . Thank you for allowing me to nominate Ali for the position. In every project Ali encounters, you can see just how much she cares. That is what makes her stand out to me, she cares. She cares about improving her co-workers’ skills and knowledge, helping AHEC grow and become more recognized, and giving the citizens of South Carolina more access to the best possible health care.

Congratulations to all of the 2017 South Carolina AHEC Excellence Award recipients and thank you for your contributions and service! 


Popular posts from this blog

SC AHEC Scholars: Preparing the Next Generation of Primary Care Providers

Hannah Robinson, MD knew she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare from a young age.  “I’ve always wanted to be a doctor since about the sixth grade,” said Dr. Robinson. “I remember being in health class and watching the Miracle of Life video and just being fascinated with women and their ability to create and bear life.” Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Robinson spent time working on the obstetrics unit at her local hospital in Rock Hill and observed a trend with their patients. “What I noticed was a lot of the families that we serviced actually weren’t from Rock Hill. We also served surrounding counties that were really rural and seeing how these families were traveling to Rock Hill to deliver their babies was really shocking to me,” said Robinson.  Due to a maldistribution of OB/GYNs in the state of South Carolina, individuals may have to travel great distances just to receive the care they need. In its most recent South Carolina Health Professions Data Book published in 20

Lowcountry AHEC’s Strong Partnerships Serve School Nurses Statewide

For over three decades, Lowcountry AHEC has been proud to support school nurses across South Carolina in their professional development through statewide conferences and meetings. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and in-person events came to a halt, Lowcountry AHEC along with their partners, were able to pivot to alternate methods to continue providing training opportunities for school nurses. One such way Lowcountry AHEC was able to adapt was implementing online modules so that school nurses could continue to receive the same professional development and learning opportunities in a virtual setting. The first course, Foundations of School Nursing , included nine modules and was uploaded to the South Carolina AHEC Learning Portal (ALP) by August 2020 . With over 1,600 registrations to this day, Foundations of School Nursing is the most popular course currently on ALP. “We began to do some work with them on online modules,” said Lowcountry AHEC Center Director Diane Mathews. “All new schoo

Medical Mentors: Pee Dee AHEC Connects Students to Clinical Experiences

Pee Dee AHEC has partnered with Francis Marion University to collaborate on a Medical Mentors program, connecting undergraduate biology students with practicing medical professionals to gain real-life experiences in the field. Health Careers Program Coordinator Subira Smalls serves as the Pee Dee AHEC point of contact for the program and has been involved since its inception. “The goal is to introduce undergraduate college students to clinical experiences,” said Smalls. “We want them to step into the world of healthcare, by shadowing physicians, nurses and other professionals, and give them a firsthand look at the day-to-day realities of medicine.” Students in the program are given the opportunity to shadow a variety of healthcare professionals at McLeod Health Regional Medical Center, including physicians, physician assistants (PAs), nurses and other disciplines. Experiences students have been able to witness include surgical procedures like hip replacements, the insertion of vascular