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School of Medicine Columbia

2018 Alumni and Dean's Awards Recipients Named

Sixteen individuals, including a student, alumni, faculty and staff members and friends of the School of Medicine will be recognized at the annual Alumni and Dean's Awards Dinner on April 19 (Thursday).

The award recipients will be recognized for their contributions to the health care field and their service to the School of Medicine. The Awards Dinner will be held at Stone River in West Columbia from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person and available online. Please RSVP by April 16 (Monday). 


Alumni Awards Recipients 

Each year, the School of Medicine presents a number of prestigious awards to our most dedicated alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement or service to the school. All graduates, faculty, staff and friends are invited to submit nominations.

There are seven alumni award recipients for 2018:

Richard Frierson

Richard Frierson, MD – ‘88/Forensic Psychiatry

Richard Frierson, M.D., recently was elected president elect of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL), the largest forensic psychiatry organization in the United States. He is the immediate past president of the Association of Directors of Forensic Psychiatry Fellowships. He has received three national awards from AAPL: the Most Outstanding Teacher in a Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Award in 2006, the Red Apple Award for service to the organization in 2014 and the Seymour Pollack Award in 2016 for distinguished lifetime contributions to the teaching and educational functions of forensic psychiatry.

Frierson also received another national teaching award, the Steven Von Reisling Lecturer of Merit Award, from the National College of District Attorneys. He has served on committees for Recertification in Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He also is a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association where he serves on the Council on Psychiatry and Law.

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John Baker, MD – ‘07/Neurology

John Baker, M.D., graduated from the University of South Carolina (biology with Honors from the SC Honors College) in 2003. He also is a 2007 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. He completed an internal medicine internship in 2008, as well as his residency training in general neurology in 2011, both at Duke University Medical Center.

He joined Colonial Healthcare in 2011, where he has practiced in the Midlands of South Carolina. In 2013, he became Neurology Clinic Medical Director at the Midlands Center in Columbia, S.C., under the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (SCDDSN). Since 2015, he has been the Medical Director of Palmetto Diagnostics, LLC, a mobile diagnostics company who serves the needs of referring physicians for in home patient testing.

Baker is certified by the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialties (UCNS) in Headache Medicine (2014) and Neuroimaging (2015). He has served on the advisory boards for Amgen and Eisai Pharmaceuticals. He has been involved in several observational clinical trials involving neurological conditions. His neurological clinical interests involve migraine/headache, neuroimaging, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders, and epilepsy, as well as how technology can improve patient care for neurological conditions. As a native South Carolinian, husband to Jessica, father of a six-year old daughter Amelia, and a former disc jockey in college, his nonclinical interests involve sports, family, and music.

Jefferson Crane

T. Jefferson Crane, MD, FACP – ‘86/Internal Medicine

T. Jefferson (“Jeff”) Crane, M.D., F.A.C.P., class of 1986, completed his internal medicine residency in Richmond, Va. He then served honorably as a US Air Force Major from 1989 until 1993 (Gulf War veteran). Upon his discharge, he entered private practice in Florence, S.C., eventually associating with McLeod Regional Medical Center. 

In 2007, sensing God’s call to full-time missions, Crane and his wife, Donna (pediatric RN, USC class of 1983), moved their family to Kyiv, Ukraine. They serve orphans, refugees, medical professionals and military chaplains.  Serving as Medical Director of International Faith Initiatives, Inc., Crane has taught medical English to professionals for years.

After much preparation, Crane received his Ukrainian medical certificate in 2016. He has helped create a multi-specialty clinic and an associated charity foundation where he volunteers and mentors young doctors from Ukraine and many eastern European and Asian nations, pointing them to international medical standards, patient-focused care and a genuine relationship with their creator.

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Courtney R. Pinard, PhD - '09

Courtney R. Pinard, Ph.D., is an educational and awards program specialist at The American Association of Immunologists (AAI). Pinard obtained her B.A. in Physics from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2003 and her doctorate in Biomedical Sciences from the USC School of Medicine in 2009. Her doctoral work with Dr. Alex McDonald focused on dopaminergic and cortical inputs to the amygdala, the results of which contributed to functional studies on the regulation of emotional learning and behavior.

Pinard completed postdoctoral fellowships at Université Laval and at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH. During her time at the NIH, she served as an intern in the Office of Science Policy, Planning, and Communications, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) where she wrote scientific reports for the public on NIMH-funded research. As part of her current role, Pinard manages the AAI outreach program and summer research program for teachers.

Debbie Zvejnieks

Debera Zvejnieks, MS, CGC - '92

Debera “Debbie” Harris Zvejnieks, M.S., C.G.C., class of 1992, is a native of Lancaster, S.C., and a board-certified genetic counselor. She worked at Palmetto Helath - USC Genetic Counseling and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for six years. She practices prenatal genetic counseling.

Previously, Zvejnieks worked for Greenwood Genetic Center as a DDSN coordinator and held prenatal genetic counseling positions at Memorial Medical Center in Savannah, Ga., and at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Co.

Debbie has been actively involved with the USC Genetic Counseling program Advisory Board for five years. She also currently works with genetic counseling students to promote awareness of the program and encourage community collaboration and volunteerism.

She serves or has served on numerous community Boards including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, Artists for Africa, the Columbia Museum of Art, the Columbia City Ballet, EdVenture Children’s Museum and the Junior League of Columbia. She also helps manage, along with her husband Peter, the Zvejnieks Foundation of South Carolina.

Will Chapman

Will Chapman, CRNA - '12

Will Stanton Chapman, C.R.N.A, earned his Masters of Nurse Anesthesia from the USC School of Medicine in 2012. Chapman was part of the first cohort of nurse anesthesia students to graduate from the Greenville satellite campus. 

Upon graduation, Chapman started his career at McDowell Hospital in Marion, N.C., as the chief certified registered nurse anesthetist. Currently, he is the director of anesthesia at Digestive Health Partners in Asheville, N.C.

Chapman lives in Black Mountain, N.C, with his wife Michelle and two children Charlotte and Luke. He enjoys trail running in the mountains around his home and hiking with his family.

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Debbie T. Truluck

Debbie Tokunaga Truluck joined the USC School of Medicine Development Office in 1996. Working with DyAnne Dunham, then Senior Director of Development, she spearheaded School of Medicine alumni relations efforts within the Development Office.

In 1998, the Alumni Association and Alumni Office were established and Dean Larry R. Faulkner, M.D., appointed Debbie as the first director of alumni relations. She and the officers of the newly formed Alumni Association partnered with the Class of 2002 to launch the Annual Black Tie White Coat Gala. This premier School of Medicine fundraising event has grown each year in popularity and financial benefit to the Free Medical Clinic and Alumni Scholarship Program.

In 2009 Debbie was named by Dean Faulkner as recipient of the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award and established the class reunion gift tradition. She also coordinated new and continuing school-wide alumni activities such as the dean’s state-wide alumni events, the Annual Football Tailgate and the Alumni Awards Program.

Debbie’s passion for the School’s alumni and students inspired her to spearhead the “Help Our Students Travel” (HOST) program and the Shadowing Program in partnership with Student Services Office. A graduate of USC, Debbie retired in 2017. She currently resides in Chapin, S.C., with her husband, who is also a USC graduate. Their adult son is also an alum of South Carolina, and they pray that the grandkids will also become Gamecocks!  “Forever to Thee!”


Dean’s Distinguished Service Awards Recipients 

The Dean’s Distinguished Service Awards are annual honors established by the Office of the Dean to recognize individuals who demonstrate excellence in service, leadership, advocacy and professional accomplishment. Awardees are chosen by a selection committee overseen by the Dean’s leadership team. 

There are nine service award recipients for 2018:

Harold Friedman

Harold I. Friedman, MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery

Harold I. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1984 as the founding chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Department of Surgery. He became a Professor of Surgery in 1990. He also serves as the program director for the Palmetto Health/School of Medicine Integrated Plastic Surgery Training Program.

Friedman has made extensive contributions in clinical practice, medical education, research and leadership in his profession. He has run a busy clinical practice at Palmetto Health Richland and the Dorn VA Medical Center. He also has expanded his practice to underserved communities in the Midlands to increase access to plastic surgery clinical care.

Friedman has been actively involved with third and fourth year medical students on surgery rotations and gets high teaching marks from them as well as from his residents. He has served as councilor in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and director of the Surgical Subspecialties Clerkship.

Friedman was instrumental in starting the plastic surgery residency program. He has been a strong mentor for over 100 general surgery residents in the Palmetto Health/School of Medicine General Surgery Program, providing motivation and supportive peer guidance to help them excel professionally. As a result of serving as such an excellent role model, many residents have chosen to pursue careers in plastic surgery. 

His research focuses on implantable materials and soft tissue interactions. He has obtained over $900,000 in grants and maintains an active research lab. He is well published with six book chapters, 66 publications, 34 abstracts and two patents.  Friedman has served on editorial boards for ten national journals and reviewed over 200 articles. He also has served on three dissertation committees and mentored numerous students in basic science research.

Friedman has shown maturity in leadership in multiple professional societies. He has served as president of both the South Carolina Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Nationally, he has been active with the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Society and the American College of Surgeons. He has served as chairman of the government affairs committee for cleft palate and craniofacial anomalies  to improve access and care in the Southeast.

Friedman’s selfless dedication to his patients, students, residents and colleagues and the significant contributions to his profession during his 34 year career are a testament to his limitless energy and outstanding commitment to the School of Medicine.

Rajeev Bais

Rajeev K. Bais, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases, Internal Medicine

Rajeev Bais, M.D., M.P.H., joined the faculty of the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, in 2016. Since joining the faculty, Bais has successfully launched the Carolina Survivor Clinic (CSC), the only refugee health clinic within South Carolina. CSC supports 300 patients and 60 families from countries in all of the continents. CSC services provide patient care in the traditional clinical setting, mental health support, English as a second language classes, home-based medical care and several community programs.

Two community-based programs of particular note are the Scholastic Soccer Program and the Survivor Garden Project. The Scholastic Soccer Program is dedicated to enriching refugee youth by motivating them through soccer and academic programs. The program meets twice a week and provides academic tutoring, English as a second language instruction, and soccer practice for over 50 refugee youth. The Survivor Garden Project, run in collaboration with the USC Office of Sustainability, provides garden plots to refugees so that they can have a quiet place to grow their own food, seek solace and healing, improve their English skills and social integration and increase physical activity.

Bais’ programs benefit the refugee community and provide a vehicle for students and volunteers to learn about refugees and the problems they have faced in their countries. Bais always has students shadowing in the clinic or volunteering with the community-based programs. 


Gavin V. Truong, Medical Student, Class of 2019

As president of the School of Medicine Medical Student Association during his second year of medical school, Gavin Truong has been very involved in promoting medical student involvement in community service. Last year Truong partnered with Dr. Rajeev Bais and the Carolina Survivors Clinic to help start the Scholastic Soccer program. This organization serves refugee youth in our community and helps them with their school work so that they are able to succeed in school with the end goal of being able to go to college. The students have tutoring and soccer practice three times a week but they must attend tutoring sessions to go to soccer practice. Truong has given countless hours of his time to these refugee youth. He knows all of the students on a personal level and has attended events at their schools. He has worked with other people and organizations to get equipment, set-up field trips and arranged transportation for students to get to practice and tutoring. In the demanding days of the second year of medical school, Truong devoted his time and energy to these youth. He is selfless, humble and never asks for any recognition for all of the work that he does. When the kids see Truong their faces light up. He is truly a role model and a big brother to many of these children.


William Hester

William H. Hester, MD,Assistant Dean for Medical Student Education - Florence

Dr. William "Bill" Hester joined the faculty of the School of Medicine in 1981. He served as the program director for the McLeod Family Medicine Residency Program in Florence, S.C., for 32 years. In 2014 he was named the assistant dean for medical student education - Florence and established the School of Medicine-Florence regional campus. He has had a tremendous impact on the creation of the regional campus, significantly advancing the educational mission of the School of Medicine. What makes Hester's accomplishments so incredible is that he already had a long and successful career as an educator and family medicine physician. Then in his mid-seventies, when many would have been retired, the call came that the School of Medicine needed a leader to help establish the regional campus, and he answered it.

Hester has worked tirelessly for the past four years to establish a regional campus that already is receiving high praise from our students and faculty for its individualized approach to medical education. He has been a one man show who has recruited each faculty member to the program and personally mentored the more than 30 students who are in or already completed the program there. He rallied the community around the establishment of the regional campus and directs an innovative program that connects our students with leaders in the community from government, business, education and healthcare. The students have been very appreciative of his efforts with them and see him as both their surrogate grandfather and mentor who is full of both wisdom and advice in equal measure. When Hester retires later this year it will be with the full knowledge that he has not only set a high bar for whomever assumes the role of assistant dean but that he has left a lasting legacy on Florence and the Pee Dee for years to come. While the launch of the Florence Regional campus has had its challenges, Hester has risen to each one and the program would not be the success it is today without him. His outstanding leadership of this important initiative has been invaluable to the School of Medicine.


Ruth Riley

Ruth A. Riley, MS, Assistant Dean for Executive Affairs & Director of Library Services

Ruth Riley, M.S., has served as director of library services since 2000, and as assistant dean for executive affairs since 2012. Riley has shown distinguished leadership in both her roles while serving as a leader in national and regional library associations. She was recently recognized for her role as past president of the Association of Academic Health Science Libraries. She also has served as the chair of the Southern Chapter of the Medical Library Association and the chair of the Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries.

As director of library services, Riley has built a top-notch library resource. Key elements include adding LibGuides which are extremely useful to faculty and students, hosting National Library of Medicine traveling exhibits, and creating the Charles S. Bryan History of Medicine Room. More critically she has built a team of librarians and staff who are exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable and actively participate in training students and faculty in multiple teaching and research venues. The library resources have been vital for our strategic planning, LCME accreditation, and curriculum innovation processes.

Riley also provides leadership for multiple School of Medicine initiatives in her role as assistant dean for executive affairs. Much of Riley's work is behind the scenes as she handles many things that happen without anyone thinking about how they were orchestrated. She provided incredible support for the various task forces and accreditation processes with information searches and documents. She also has headed numerous initiatives for School of Medicine deans including awards events, visits from dignitaries, compiling the Blueprint report for the Office of the Provost and LCME reports and arranging for library services for the new Florence campus and the new Medical Group. She has headed several search committees for important School of Medicine positions and managed our website when the communications manager position was vacant. She does all of this while leading a top-rate library and serving at the national level in the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries.



Chandrashekhar Patel, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy

Chandrashekhar "Shekhar" Patel, Ph.D., joined the School of Medicine faculty in 2000. In 2011, he became the founding director of the Certificate of Graduate Study in Biomedical Sciences Program. While the program was initially designed as an avenue for students to enhance their academic background in basic sciences prior to entry into professional health programs such as medicine and dentistry, under Patel's leadership its mission has been expanded to include a focus on underrepresented minorities in the health professions. Since its creation, the program has successfully matriculated over a dozen women and underrepresented minority applicants into medical and dental schools. Without the program and Patel's mentorship, many of these individuals would have been less likely to achieve their career goals.

For over a year, Patel has been working with the faculty at Claflin University, a historically black university in South Carolina, to develop a pipeline program for their biology majors to prepare them for a masters in Biomedical Sciences and ultimately admission into a health professions school. He is very passionate about this program, even meeting with President Pastides to discuss it. The program is in the final stages of launching and is expected to become a prototype pathway for other underrepresented minorities to achieve their goals. Patel is a warm collaborative faculty member who is seen by his students as both their teacher and mentor. They credit him with helping them to achieve their professional dreams and it is obvious that he has their best interests at heart. As the School of Medicine continues to expand its focus on diversity and inclusion, Patel is already moving the school forward to meet its goals one student at a time.


Luther F. Carter, PhD, President, Francis Marion University

President of Francis Marion University Fred Carter, Ph.D, has been instrumental in the development of the Pee Dee Health Education Partnership which includes Francis Marion University, the University of South Carolina, Carolinas Hospital and McLeod Regional Medical Center. This unique partnership, working with the South Carolina Legislature, helped obtain the funding to create the University-of South Carolina School of Medicine's regional campus in Florence. President Carter saw the need for improved healthcare in Florence and advocated for funds for the School of Medicine to advance their mission of opening a regional campus in Florence to help address healthcare disparities in eastern South Carolina. President Carter's vision of having medical students train in the Pee Dee has introduced them to the needs of the community and allowed them to become a valued part of the community and assist in providing healthcare to the underserved.

President Carter also has been an encouraging voice with the two local hospitals systems by rallying support for the education of third and fourth year medical students with their respective medical staff. In the three years since the regional campus opened, he has remained one of its most ardent supporters. He personally meets with School of Medicine students annually and secured a state-of-­the-art facility for the regional campus office.

Carter received his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina and was recognized by the University's College of Arts and Sciences as its distinguished graduate alumnus in 2006. He is the recipient of multiple awards for his work as an educator, administrator and as a community leader. He has also received honorary degrees from the College of Charleston, Lander University and The Citadel. His entire career has been in public service and his efforts will leave a lasting legacy for the School of Medicine.

Daniel Green

Daniel Bernard Green, Orthopedic Technician, Orthopedic Surgery

Bernard Green has made a positive difference with every person he touches or comes in contact with at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and now Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedics for close to 40 years. His specialty as a cast technician did not come from formal education or training, but from hard work and determination. He picked up his craft by watching and learning from others. The Orthopedic Surgery Department depends on Bernard for all casts and any cast that may be a challenge or may need a little extra care. Green's "job" may be cast tech; however, there is not a day that he is not seen helping direct a person who may be lost. He truly wants to make sure that all patients are taken care of regardless of department. Green greets and shares his memorable smile with everyone he meets. He epitomizes the description of the Sustained Service Award: a person who consistently demonstrates ongoing commitment to improving the School of Medicine, exceeds his or her job responsibilities and helps create a positive work environment. He is one of the finest employees at the School of Medicine.

Lynn Thomas

Lynn K. Thomas, DrPH, RD, Assistant Dean for Preclinical Curriculum

Lynn Thomas, DrPH, R.D., joined the faculty of the School of Medicine in 1996. She has served with distinction as a teacher, scholar and administrator. As assistant dean for preclinical curriculum since 2002, she consistently has demonstrated a commitment to improving the educational experience for our students while also serving as director of the nutrition curriculum.

Thomas was recruited to the School of Medicine from the VA Hospital as a teacher. The curriculum was desperately in need of an individual to provide nutrition instruction and Thomas made the decision to leave her position as a nutritionist to enter academics. Through a Fullerton Foundation Grant, she developed one of the first web-based courses and expanded the nutrition curriculum from a few lectures into a true vertical curriculum spanning all four years of medical education. She was the first to develop individual modules in nutrition that matched educational goals with individual clerkships and required students to complete these modules while on their clerkships.

As a scholar, Thomas has made substantial contributions in the areas of nutrition and medical student education with published papers, educational grants and speaking invitations at the state and national levels. She has been the "go to" faculty member for faculty and students needing data structured in a cohesive and understandable fashion and was instrumental in developing the first research proposal for the ultrasound curriculum. She has served as a reviewer for Journal of Family Medicine and Journal of the American Dietetic Association and her co-editorship of a textbook on renal nutrition has given her national recognition.

Thomas has been involved in every aspect of medical education from managing the Office of Curricular Affairs and Media Resources, serving on numerous committees, overseeing compliance with LCME standards in the preclinical curriculum, and serving as chief proctor to the National Board of Medical Examiners. She has overseen implementation of the OASIS scheduling system for third and fourth year medical students and served as an education mentor for junior faculty and advisor for first and second year medical students in academic difficulty. She has demonstrated maturity of judgment, personal and professional integrity, leadership, and commitment to institutional goals that make her a credit to the School of Medicine and to the University. 

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