Hundreds of UofSC stakeholders joined together for a day of advocacy on January 26, 2017 at the annual Carolina Day at the State House event.
School of Medicine Executive Dean Dr. Les Hall and Carolina Day veteran Dr. R. Caughman Taylor, professor and chair of clinical pediatrics, led a team of medical students, faculty and staff from the My Carolina Alumni Center to the State House for the opportunity to speak with legislators.
“Overall, this was a truly rewarding experience,” said second year medical student De’Andra Seaberry. “It felt great advocating for medical education with Dean Hall and my fellow students.”
Hall and team talked with Senator Thomas Alexander, chairman of the state Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, in his office, and thanked him for his support of rural health programs.
Alexander said he wants to continue partnering with the SOM and other entities to fill the critical need for primary care doctors across the state, and especially in rural areas.
He was impressed that representatives from the school literally filled his office.
“I’m so proud to see this great-looking group in here. They are our future for health
Executive Dean Dr. Les Hall and the SOM group in Sen. Thomas Alexander’s office
The students also had a chance to meet gregarious SOM alumnus and SC Representative Dr. Robert “Bobby” Ridgeway on the State House floor, and were able to leave hand-written notes for several other key legislators.
A bond bill that would provide funding for a new School of Medicine campus near clinical partner Palmetto Health Richland was the key issue of the day, along with the need for expanded residency opportunities in the state.
"From my understanding, South Carolina is graduating approximately 100 more medical students than we have residency positions,” said Seaberry.
“This means that some of the students who want to practice here will need to take their expertise to other states. The number of residency positions must be increased so the talented students trained in our institutions can stay in South Carolina and give back to their communities.”
Seaberry also noted that funding the advancement of medical education would be a win not only for the South Carolina students who will be entering the health professions, but also their future patients.
“This investment will help the SOM continue to attract and retain the best students from across the country, and ultimately improve the quality of health care in our state,” she said.
An editorial illustrating the need for a new UofSC academic medical campus, written by President Dr. Harris Pastides, was published in The State newspaper the Sunday after Carolina Day.