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, 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.
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,
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.
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.
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, 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
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 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
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 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
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 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
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
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
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
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 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 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.
Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.