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Children and Family Healthcare Practice

Our faculty and students provide comprehensive health care for babies, children, teens and adults because we believe everyone should have access to quality primary care.

The Children and Family Healthcare Practice is owned and operated by the University of South Carolina College of Nursing as part of University Specialty Clinics. Located in a low-income area of Columbia, the center started at the Palmetto Place Shelter for Children in 1997 to meet an urgent need for children coming into the foster care system. The center serves more than 7,000 patients and provides a comprehensive range of pediatric and specialty services from birth through adulthood. We accept clients of all income levels, but more than 75 percent of our patients are Medicaid recipients.  

Nurse practitioner faculty members are the primary care providers and students work here as part of their clinical experience. Pharmacy and social work students also work here for practical, real-world experience.

Many of our patients are in the state foster care system because of physical abuse or neglect. The serious and complex health care issues they face require focused attention and continuity. The center provides health care for several children’s homes in South Carolina. Our team takes pride in being sensitive to the special needs of each individual while providing quality educational experiences for our students.

“Helping children develop emotionally, socially and academically is just as important as taking care of their health care concerns,” said Toriah Caldwell, director of the Children and Family Healthcare Practice.

Much of our efforts focus on education and prevention of bad habits that can lead to health problems. We provide patients and their families with literature and knowledge to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Our various outreach programs include free books for our young patients and free trips to the zoo and the children’s museum in Columbia that our clients might not be able to afford otherwise. Our goal is to make sure every patient – child and adult – leaves our center with a smile.

Our services include:

  • treatment and management of acute and chronic illnesses
  • annual adult exams
  • work, school, camp and sports physicals
  • child exams, immunizations and growth and development screenings
  • gynecological care (Pap smears, breast exams and pregnancy tests)
  • weight and stress management, nutrition/exercise education and smoking cessation
  • laboratory testing
  • blood pressure screening
  • cholesterol and triglyceride screening
  • blood sugar monitoring
  • prostate screening
  • treatment of mental and behavioral health issues
  • outreach and educational programs