Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Mid-Carolina AHEC Health Careers Students Learn through Hands-On Experience


The Mid-Carolina AHEC Health Careers Program is proud to announce its continued partnership with Midlands Technical College Department of Nursing and a new partnership with the South Carolina Office of Rural Health’s Workforce Program Manager Jessica Seel. This partnership recently enabled Mid-Carolina AHEC Health Careers Academy (HCA) students from grades nine through twelve to learn more about nursing and preparing to enter the health professions.

Jessica Seel spoke to HCA students to help them prepare for seeking professional careers. She covered key tips for becoming a successful job seeker: establishing good first impressions, using social media appropriately, dressing professionally, and discussing prior job experience. She also worked with the students to understand the importance of professionalism, networking, and volunteering.

After speaking with Ms. Seel, students participated in interactive patient simulations with Chaunta Simmons, RN, from Midlands Technical College Health Sciences Department. During these simulations, students were able to practice the role of nurses in patient care. Nursing Department Chair Shirley Bannister, RN, helped students understand the nursing profession, scope of practice, and potential job responsibilities with an emphasis on the importance of effective communication and teamwork.

During the simulations, students not only learned about the profession of nursing but were able to work in small groups and perform as nurses do by taking care of their simulation “patient.”  Students completed a series of tasks common in day-to-day nursing practice such as patient assessment, foley catheter management, patient positioning, post-operative management, medication administration and safety, all while adorned with personal protective equipment (PPE). 

HCA student Tashauna M. discussed her key takeaways: "The presentation and skills lab were very enjoyable. The presenter was very knowledgeable and gave helpful tips about searching for a career. We learned how to check a pulse and how to properly roll a pregnant patient on her side! Although the task was difficult, the nursing instructors were extremely helpful." 

All of the students and Mid-Carolina AHEC would like to extend our greatest appreciation to the Midlands Technical College nursing coordinators and the South Carolina Office of Rural Health for making this program a success. Learn more about the Mid-Carolina Health Careers program at the Mid-Carolina AHEC website.

South Carolina Rural Incentive Grant Program Now Accepting Applications

South Carolina AHEC Rural Incentive Grants Now Accepting Applications
The Rural Incentive Grant Program was initiated by the South Carolina Legislature in 1989 to address the maldistribution of clinicians in rural and underserved South Carolina communities. 

The program provides incentive grants to eligible providers who contract to practice for four years in a rural or underserved area of South Carolina. Eligible health professionals include: primary care physicians (Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and OB/Gyn); general surgeons and psychiatrists; credentialed nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants. 

The amount of the incentive grant will vary—physicians are eligible for a total of $60,000-$100,000 (minimum-maximum) and advanced practice providers are eligible for a total of $30,000-$50,000 (minimum-maximum) depending upon the type of practice setting and the population of the county. 

All recipients must be U.S. citizens and licensed by the State of South Carolina and board certified. Applications are encouraged from residents who will be completing their training within the year, but it is expected that the resident will become board certified.   

Providers who have previously received an award from the Rural Physician Incentive Grant Program or the Rural Physician Loan Repayment Program are not eligible. Providers must also have practiced in the community for less than five years to be considered. Clinicians working in state prisons may qualify. Half-time options are also available.

A recruitment incentive grant is also available to residents graduating from a South Carolina Family Medicine Residency Program and going into practice in one of the state’s whole county Geographic Health Professional Shortage Areas. Due to a limited number of slots, these incentive grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Applications for incentive grants are due by March 15, 2020.  
For more information about the  program, please visit the South Carolina AHEC Recruitment and Retention Programs webpage.   

South Carolina Rural Dentist Program Now Accepting Applications



South Carolina AHEC Rural Dentist Program Now Accepting ApplicationsThe South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC) is pleased to announce it is currently accepting applications for the South Carolina Rural Dentist Program. The South Carolina Rural Dentist Program was implemented in July 2005 to assist dentists who serve in South Carolina’s Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) or serve as full-time faculty at the MUSC College of Dental Medicine in repaying educational loans. 

During their commitment period, these dentists are expected to establish viable community practices or academic careers at the College of Dental Medicine and become involved in their respective communities, which will hopefully help retain them after the funding period is complete. 

Priority for this program is given to those demonstrating need and expressing intent to remain in an underserved area or in an area of critical need at the MUSC College of Dental Medicine. 

To date, 60 rural dentists and 19 faculty members at the MUSC College of Dental Medicine have been funded.

Applications are available online and the deadline is February 15, 2020.

For more information on the South Carolina Rural Dentist Program and to apply, please visit the South Carolina AHEC Recruitment and Retention Programs page

Monday, November 4, 2019

South Carolina AHEC Welcomes Katie Gaul as New Office for Healthcare Workforce Director and Recognizes Linda Lacey's 10 Years of Service to the State

Katie Gaul
The South Carolina AHEC Program welcomes Katie Gaul as the new director of the South Carolina Office for Healthcare Workforce and bids a fond farewell to Linda Lacey, who will be retiring at the end of the year. 

Linda joined South Carolina AHEC in 2009 as the founding director of the South Carolina Office for Healthcare Workforce (SCOHW), which received startup funding from The Duke Endowment. SCOHW works closely with other state agencies and health-related organizations to ensure they have the information they need about the healthcare workforce in South Carolina and the issues affecting the future of that workforce. During her tenure, Linda established the South Carolina Health Professions Data Book – a widely used resource that describes the available healthcare workforce, population, health status and social/economic conditions in each county in the state. Updated every two years, the data book was recognized as a ‘best state document’ in 2013 by the South Carolina State Library. Under Linda’s vision and leadership, SCOHW has published more than 50 reports and fact sheets and fulfilled hundreds of data requests. Linda’s extensive experience as a healthcare workforce researcher and policy expert has been instrumental in creating a valuable resource for state policy makers, educational programs, health systems, and others in need of timely and accurate information about the healthcare workforce in South Carolina. 
Linda Lacey

Katie brings with her a deep commitment to service, a well-grounded understanding of state health workforce data systems and experience in providing data to inform policy. She worked for many years as a research associate in the Program on Health Workforce Research and Policy and the Rural Health Research Program at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; as the deputy director of the HRSA-funded Health Workforce Technical Assistance Center; and, most recently, as a senior policy analyst with the Health Division in the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. Her expertise is built from assisting in the development of state health workforce data systems in multiple states; supporting state and national projects related to health workforce education, practice, and policy; and connecting researchers, policy makers, and others to timely and objective health workforce data and information.

Please join us in thanking Linda for her service and welcoming Katie to our state, our communities and our South Carolina AHEC System.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Pee Dee AHEC Health Careers Program Highlights

Pee Dee AHEC Summer High School Health Careers Exploration Experience



During the third and fourth weeks of June, Pee Dee AHEC’s Health Careers Program hosted high school students from Florence and surrounding counties to explore health science careers.  Students gathered together from Dillon, Cheraw, Horry, Florence, Williamsburg, Darlington, and Marion counties for a week packed with professional presentations, academic advising, hands-on simulations, soft skills workshops, clinical observations and reflection.  

During this experience, students heard the personal testimonies and career path stories of a variety of healthcare professionals including a workplace safety coordinator, clinical pharmacist, pharmacy student, medical laboratory scientist, three NICU nurses, four athletic trainers, and a child life specialist. With these mentor sessions, the students participated in hands-on career simulation labs where they worked in teams to solve problems and overcome hurdles that are common to the professions presented during the week. Students participated in daily soft skill workshops on topics such as cultural competency, interviewing skills, college/future planning, and personal, professional and online image. To culminate the experience, each student was scheduled to observe with five different clinical areas at McLeod Regional Medical Center, focusing both on passions they knew they already had as well as exposure to careers that were new to them. 

Overall, Pee Dee AHEC ran this camp for two weeks, serving 26 students across two cohorts from seven counties. The entire group of students came together on June 28 and shared lessons learned and new passions discovered. According to exit survey data, students look forward to returning to the Health Careers Program next summer and plan to take advantage of other AHEC pipeline services.


Pee Dee AHEC Health Careers Students Work Community Event: McLeod Children’s Hospital Back to School Bash



On August 3, Pee Dee AHEC Health Careers Program (HCP) students teamed up with McLeod Children’s Hospital to help facilitate a community wide Back to School Bash in downtown Florence. The event was organized by the McLeod Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Specialist, Olivia Whatley, who is often a mentor, speaker and preceptor for Pee Dee HCP students. The students who volunteered to work this event were from this year’s Summer Health Careers Exploration Experience camp, as well as from the Florence One Health Science Work Based Honors class. The students came out and worked booths for Florence County DHEC, Mental Health America, Lighthouse Ministries, Florence City Police Department, Florence City Fire Department, McLeod HeartReach, McLeod Safe Kids, and McLeod Sports Medicine. The students also participated in face painting, registration, and diabetes awareness events.  

At the Back to School Bash, families were offered health education and valuable resource materials, as well as free school supplies. The event also served as a platform to provide students and families with introductions to student services and professionals available throughout the school year. Participating in this event was a great opportunity for HCP students to network with health professionals while being an active part of a community event that touched and informed local families. 

To learn more about the Pee Dee AHEC Health Careers Program, please contact Pee Dee AHEC Health Careers Program Coordinator Matthew Peake or visit the Pee Dee AHEC website.

South Carolina AHEC Family Medicine Awards

Sharm Steadman Excellence in Family Medicine Education Award Presented to Jenna Reel, PharmD


South Carolina AHEC is pleased to announce that Jenna Reel, PharmD, is this year’s recipient of the Sharm Steadman Excellence in Family Medicine Education Award. Dr. Reel serves as associate program director for the Spartanburg Regional Family Medicine Residency Program. The Sharm Steadman Excellence in Family Medicine Education Award is given to a non-physician member of the faculty of a South Carolina family medicine residency program who has distinguished themself as an outstanding teacher and role model.

As a clinical pharmacist, she rounds with the inpatient family medicine team and ensures that they are all well-versed on appropriate indications for medications, the latest guidelines, the possibility of drug interactions, and adjusting medications for renal function. She is always available for questions from the floor or from the outpatient clinic.  

Over the past year, Dr. Reel has taken on the role of liaison with both the hospital Institutional Review Board and Department of Quality. By championing these efforts, she has become the force behind the residency program’s quality improvement curriculum, making it her mission to assist every resident in understanding their patient panel and quality measures, while learning the importance of population management. She has met with each of the residents individually to ensure understanding and success with their projects. Dr. Reel works tirelessly to ensure longitudinal curriculums are scheduled and coordinates orientation for incoming interns each year. She was also instrumental in coordinating the medication assisted treatment training for the program’s faculty and residents. Furthermore, she is currently working with the program’s newest behavioral faculty member to schedule time for a dedicated behavioral health clinic with 1:1 teaching.  

Statewide, Dr. Reel is active with the other PharmDs in the state’s family medicine residency programs on developing pharmacology curriculum.  In April, she presented “Use Your Moodle:  An Interactive Pharmacotherapy Curriculum” at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine along with other PharmDs from South Carolina’s family medicine residency programs. Dr. Reel is indispensable to the Spartanburg Regional Family Medicine Residency Program and exemplifies the wonderful characteristics of the Sharm Steadman Excellence in Family Medicine Education Award. 

Originally called the Excellence in Family Medicine Education Award, this award was renamed in honor of Dr. Sharm Steadman, who passed away in October 2015. Sharm Steadman, PharmD, was a professor with the UofSC Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, where she practiced for 25 years. Dr. Steadman received this award herself in 2012 as she represented exactly what this award was created to recognize: excellence in resident education, with demonstrated skills in teaching, curriculum development, mentoring, research, and leadership.  

Congratulations, Dr. Reel!


Halford Award for Leadership in Humane Education Presented to Nata Young, MD


South Carolina AHEC is pleased to announce that Nata Young, MD, is this year’s recipient of the Halford Award for Leadership in Humane Education. Dr. Young has devoted much of her career to resident education and has demonstrated outstanding leadership in providing humane education.  

Dr. Young is as an associate professor with the AnMed Health Family Medicine Residency Program where she has been on faculty since 2004. She serves as the medical director of the AnMed Health Family Medicine Clinic and practices full-scope family medicine, including obstetrics. 

Dr. Young has been described as extremely positive and enthusiastic in her approach and loves working with medical students and residents. She has been recognized by AnMed’s residents as an excellent physician and a wonderful role model. One of Dr. Young’s greatest strengths is providing effective feedback to residents and her ability to explain things in a simple but cohesive manner, making her teaching very effective. Her kind and empathetic bedside manner puts patients and learners at ease, and many of the program’s faculty and residents have chosen her as their own personal physician. Dr. Young was also a recipient of the 2015 Extraordinary Women in Healthcare Award. 

Dr. Young is very involved in the Anderson community and volunteers at the Anderson Free Clinic. She has served on mission trips through her church and on the board of Doclink, a grassroots initiative led by physicians in Anderson to educate youth on the importance of healthy decision-making concerning tobacco, alcohol, other drugs, injury prevention and much more.   

The Halford Award recognizes a family medicine residency program faculty member who demonstrates outstanding leadership in providing humane education. The award is named for Dr. James Halford, who was the founding director of the AnMed Health Family Medicine Residency Program. Award winners demonstrate a caring attitude and respect for patients, residents and students; value human dignity; exude a passion and joy for teaching, learning and working with others; and participate in community service activities. 

Congratulations, Dr. Young!

Upcoming Program: Behavioral Treatment of Chronic Pain


It is estimated that 100 million people in the US are living with chronic pain and that approximately one third of these individuals are seeking medical treatment for their pain.  As a result, across the nation, healthcare professionals are taking another look at how to safely and effectively treat pain while also reducing the risks associated with opioids.  

With an ongoing opioid epidemic, Pee Dee AHEC is helping health professionals learn ways to address their patients’ chronic pain.  On October 1, Pee Dee AHEC will host a six-hour workshop, “Behavioral Treatment of Chronic Pain: Evidence-Based Tools to Move from Hurt to Hope” presented by Martha Teater, MA, LMFT, LPC, LCAS. This workshop provides credit for counseling, social work, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and any other interested health professionals are welcome to attend. Mrs. Teater is a licensed counselor and social worker specializing in the areas of marriage and family therapy, substance abuse and workplace crisis response. She has been the director of mental health for two nonprofit organizations and provides consultations and trainings to agencies, hospitals, universities, and companies across the country and internationally.

In this program, Mrs. Teater explains that pain management has typically not been a part of behavioral health practice, but research and clinical practice are demonstrating that behavioral interventions are the most effective treatment for chronic pain. Throughout the workshop, Mrs. Teater will provide interactive and cutting edge training to participants through the use of innovative and evidence-based tools and techniques to expand their clinical practice and treat chronic pain.  Her goal is that participants will gain the skills and confidence needed to provide practical and life changing interventions to help individuals manage chronic pain and enjoy active, healthy, and meaningful lives.

The program will be held on October 1 from 9:00am - 4:30pm at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence. Register via Pee Dee AHEC’s website.

South Carolina AHEC Resident Scholarship Symposium Recognizes Excellence in Quality Improvement and Research Projects

The annual South Carolina AHEC Resident Scholarship Symposium is held each year in conjunction with the South Carolina Academy of Family Physicians’ (SCAFP) annual meeting. The symposium provides family medicine residents from across the state with the opportunity to showcase their quality improvement and research projects through scholarly presentations and poster sessions. Residents are also able to participate in conference and networking events with other family physicians from throughout South Carolina. During the symposium, the upcoming chief residents from each program participate in a seminar to learn about and develop leadership and other skills.

This year’s symposium in Myrtle Beach featured 16 podium presentations and 4 poster presentations. The quality improvement and research symposium gives residents an opportunity to engage with SCAFP members to discuss how these projects translate into practice. South Carolina AHEC is pleased to recognize this year’s Resident Scholarship Symposium winners. 

Basic Research:  

First Place 
Cardiovascular Screening in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Retrospective Case-Control Study Sarah Tucker Price, MD, PhD; Trident/MUSC Family Medicine Residency Program
                                                                                
Second Place  
Computer-Based Management Effect on Inpatient Glycemic Measures
Vinay Juneja, MD; Prisma Health-Midlands/University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia (Columbia) Family Medicine Residency Program

Third Place  
Comparing the Prevalence of Adolescent Athletes with Elevated Blood Pressures and Their Physician Recommendations
Louis Gerena, MD; Trident/MUSC Family Medicine Residency Program

Quality Improvement

First Place
Protocol to Reduce Hospital Readmissions for Acute Exacerbations of COPD
Kliph Love, MD, MPH and Ben Stillman, DO; Spartanburg Regional Family Medicine Residency Program

Second Place *Tie* 
Improving Pediatric Vaccination Rates in a Family Medicine Clinic
William Burk, MD and Bryan Vo, MD; Trident/MUSC Family Medicine Residency Program

Evaluating Effects on Hospital Encounters After Implementing After-Hours Telemedicine Visits in a Senior Living Facility
Natalie Christian, MD and Rebecca King-Mallory, MD; Trident/MUSC Family Medicine Residency Program

Poster Session Winner

Injury Rates Among College Athletes Who Played Single vs Multiple Sports in High School 
Evan Madden, MD and Grayson Sumner, DO; Self Regional Family Medicine Residency Program

South Carolina AHEC would like to thank those who served as moderators and judges:

  • Dr. Lisa Mims, Trident/MUSC Family Medicine - Chair and Moderator
  • Dr. Alec DeCastro, Trident/MUSC Family Medicine - Moderator
  • Dr. Mark Humphrey, Prisma Health-Midlands/UofSC SOM Columbia (Columbia) Family Medicine - Judge
  • Dr. Jenna Reel, Spartanburg Regional Family Medicine - Judge 
  • Dr. Richard Boyles, SCAFP Immediate Past President and Board Chair - Judge
  • Dr. Marty Player, Trident/MUSC Family Medicine - Conference Assistance 

If you would like additional information about the symposium, please contact Director of AHEC Recruitment and Retention Programs Kristin Cochran at (843) 792-6977 or cochrak@musc.edu.


Fall Continuing Professional Development Highlights



Lowcountry AHEC


Lowcountry AHEC is offering programs this November to recognize National Hospice and Palliative Care Month by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
  • End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Core Course | November 8-9 at MUSC joint-provided with MUSC’s Palliative Care Program.  
  • Living Mindfully: Self-Care for the Care Provider | November 12 at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital
  • 3 C’s of End-of-Life Nursing: Caring Ethics, Communication and Compassion Fatigue | November 20  at MUSC (South Park training room)
 Register online at Lowcountry AHEC’s website.

Pee Dee AHEC


Pee Dee AHEC has been co-sponsoring “Infant Adoption Training Initiative: Understanding Infant Adoption” programs throughout its 12-county region, presented by Sharon Cole, the assistant director of South Carolina Adoptions. This free, 4.5-hour professional development opportunity funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, is developed for nurses, social workers, and other helping professionals to learn how to discuss adoption as an option with patients and clients who may not be certain if they can parent a child.  The training also provides more information about adoption law and practices in each state, birth fathers’ rights and responsibilities, and issues related to counselling teens, social and cultural influences associated with adoption and nondirective counseling techniques. Pee Dee AHEC has co-sponsored trainings at Tidelands Health, Waccamaw Medical Park South Conference Center, and McLeod Regional Medical Center. An upcoming training scheduled is scheduled for September 12 at Prisma Health Tuomey. Register online via Pee Dee AHEC’s website.

South Carolina Family Medicine Residency Programs Collaborate for Resident Recruitment

Each year in Kansas City, Missouri, the American Academy of Family Physicians National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students is an excellent resident recruitment opportunity for family medicine residency programs. And each year, the South Carolina family medicine residency programs do what few other states accomplish: strong, cohesive collaboration to boost the state’s recruitment efforts at the conference.

During the event, a large expo hall is filled with programs from all over the country vying for students’ attention. The South Carolina programs stand out from the crowd during the event due to joint effort to create an eye-catching South Carolina booth block. South Carolina AHEC supports this effort by designing the booth space and collateral materials, resulting in a bold, cohesive state effort to attract residents to South Carolina.

This year, all 12 South Carolina family medicine residency programs participated in the South Carolina booth. Nearly 500 medical students and residents connected with program faculty, residents and staff to learn more about the state’s family medicine residency programs and fellowships and many more attendees visited the booth space over the course of the conference.

More than 1,800 medical students from across the U.S. traveled to Kansas City for the event. Throughout the conference, the South Carolina’s family medicine residency programs stayed active at the recruiting booth, meeting medical students and potential fellows and explaining the many benefits of completing residency training in South Carolina.  

To see a full listing of the family medicine residency programs in South Carolina, visit the South Carolina AHEC GME page.

Dr. Timothy Carr Recognized as Preceptor of the Year


Matt Ewald, MUSC PA-C, Clinical Coordinator; Dr. Carr; and Lance Butler, Pee Dee AHEC HPS Coordinator
Dr. Timothy Carr was recognized as Preceptor of the Year at the MUSC College of Health Professions Physician Assistant Program graduation ceremony. Dr. Carr is a Pee Dee AHEC health professions student preceptor for McLeod Health Loris and Seacoast Emergency Services.