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Galen Health Fellows

Meet Our Team

Our staff is are dedicated to your success. 


David Simmons

Faculty Principal

Dr. David Simmons is the Faculty Principal of the Galen Health Fellows Living and Learning Community and holds joint appointments in anthropology and health promotion, education and behavior.

David received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University and completed a three-year National Science Foundation Postdoc at Harvard Medical School’s Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change in the Department of Social Medicine. Originally from Chicago, David has lived all around the world—Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and the Dominican Republic—and has lived in South Carolina for the past 13 years with his wife, Kimberly (also on faculty at USC), their three children, and a pet Chihuahua, Mocha.

David’s research interests focus on tropical medicine and infectious diseases (especially HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa -- see his book Modernizing Medicine in Zimbabwe: HIV/AIDS and Traditional Healers) -- as well as health inequalities. He teaches in the areas of medical anthropology, global health, ethics, medicine and spirituality, and culture. David has the distinction of having had some of the tropical diseases he teaches and writes about, namely malaria, Chikungunya, dysentery, and a botfly larvae infestation (ask him about it sometime).

David is an avid tennis player (USTA 4.0) who is passionate about travel and adventure. In Zimbabwe, he once paddled down the Zambezi River, a crocodile and hippo-infested waterway,  on a three-day canoe trip where he got up close and personal with lion, rhinoceroses, zebra, giraffes and wildebeests. David loves to mentor undergraduate students (he’s mentored many Magellan awardees) and was awarded the Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2009. He also loves broadening students’ understandings of health and helping them to be their best selves!



Cassandra Pope

Assistant Faculty Principal

Cassandra Pope received her bachelor's degree from the Darla Moore School of Business at USC-Columbia in 2009. She completed her master's degree in Healthcare Information Technology at USC in 2015.

While completing her master's degree, Cassandra developed a deep interest in the provision and quality of more patient-centered, efficient healthcare. Her desire to be involved in the manner in which students think about healthcare led her to the Galen Health Fellows program.

Cassandra has worked at USC for over 8 years, serving as the Assistant Director for Campus Visits in the USC Visitor Center during that time. She is originally from Aiken, SC. Cassandra enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.


Nicole LeBlanc

Business Office Manager

Nicole LeBlanc is your go-to person for anything, and if she doesn't know the answer she will get you connected to the person who does. Nicole has been with the University of South Carolina for almost 2 years, and she began by working in the Student Health Services Counseling and Psychiatry Department.

Nicole received her Associate Degree in Administrative Office Technology from Midlands Technical College along with certificates in Pre-Nursing, Office Support Specialist and Medical Office Administrative Assisting. She has over eight years of experience in various administrative roles.

She loves photography and owns a photography business with her husband. She also loves to read romantic English literature, travel, visit the mountains and the beach and believes herself to be a connoisseur of tacos.



Samantha Lewandowski

Area Coordinator for Patterson Hall and Women's Quad

Samantha Lewandowski serves as the Area Coordinator for Patterson Hall and Women’s Quad as well as supervises the Assistant Residence Life Coordinator and 16 Resident Mentors in Patterson Hall for both Galen Health Fellows and Visual &  Performing Arts communities. She is the live-in professional staff member for Patterson Hall. 

Samantha received her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2011 and her master’s degree in Higher Education/Student Personnel from The University of Mississippi in 2013. Samantha has worked at USC for five years and has served multiple residence halls – East Quad, Women’s Quad, and Patterson Hall – during her time.

Samantha enjoys spending time with her dog and husband, reading for pleasure, traveling, and going boxing. Her favorite place to visit is Surf City, North Carolina, a place where she spends a week each summer with her family.

Ryan Anderson

Ryan M. Anderson

Office Assistant

Ryan is a Senior Bachelor of Science Public Health major from Milwaukee, WI. He has been involved at USC in Student Government, Preston Residential Hall, Phi Delta Epsilon and numerous other organizations.

He gained his passion for health at the age of four while living at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin as his older brother fought off a rare autoimmune disease. He later traveled to work in a landfill community called Riverton City located in Kingston, Jamaica. There, Ryan's passion for health grew stronger as he recognized many of the disparities that so damaged this low income community.

Ryan is particularly interested in preventable medical disparities and disease eradication. He has used this passion to found a nonprofit organization, the Relearn Foundation. He is also a co-founder of the Columbia based group Han' Go International. He also continues to travel back to Riverton City to work, research and spend time with his Jamaican friends.

Next year Ryan will be headed to the University of Cape Town, South Africa to pursue a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology through the Rotary Global Grant Scholarship. After completion of his MPH, he plans to pursue an MD and dreams of one day working for the World Health Organization. Ryan loves to camp and tries to spend at least 30 nights outside every year!