Members of the South Carolina General Assembly have been recognized as the newest class of Health Policy Fellows by the South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health (IMPH). The elected officials were participants in the fall 2019 offering of the Health Policy Fellows Program, offered by IMPH and supported by The Duke Endowment and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina. The program is a nonpartisan initiative providing evidence-based information on health and health care policy issues in South Carolina. 

The Fellows Program provides a unique forum for legislators to discuss health and health care issues with national and state experts in a politically neutral setting. The conversations directly support their work as elected officials as they grapple with complex issues affecting health outcomes,” said IMPH Executive Director Kester Freeman. “The Fellows demonstrate a commitment to learning about those issues that affect the health and quality of life of everyone who lives in the Palmetto state.” 

Others in attendance at the February 12, 2020 reception included members of the IMPH Board of Directors, other alumni of the program and members and staff of the General Assembly. Each Fellow was presented a certificate of recognition by Mr. Freeman.  

“I really enjoyed learning about the opportunities to improve health in South Carolina, especially in our rural areas,” said Representative Russell Ott (D-93). “The experience of learning in a bipartisan setting from presenters that had no agenda other than sharing evidence-based information and encouraging collaboration to improve health outcomes was beneficial and will positively inform my work as a legislator.” 

 The Fellows Program highlights the importance of considering health implications as factors across all policy decisions and is intended to assist elected officials by providing resources and information related to complex health topics. The Fellows Program utilizes national and South Carolina-based experts to inform sessions focused on outlining the challenges and opportunities to improve health in South Carolina; improving the return on investment in health systems and financing; and using a practical framework for engaging in open, balanced and effective dialogue.  

 "I appreciated the opportunity to participate and discuss how health may be influenced by all policies,” said Rep. Ashley Trantham (R-28), “when we as legislators can pause and listen as part of an open conversation, we can find common ground to work together for the benefit of the state.”  

 IMPH has recognized almost 60 Fellows from four offerings of the program.  

 The full class of 2019 Fellows  

 Sen. Ronnie Crome(R-18)  

 Rep. Paula Rawl Calhoon (R-87) 

 Rep. Annie E. McDaniel (D-41) 

 Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell (D-44) 

 Rep. Russell Ott (D-93) 

 Rep. Ivory Thigpen (D-79) 

 Rep. Ashley Trantha(R-28) 

About the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health 

 The South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health (IMPH) is an independent, nonprofitentity serving as a neutral convener around the important health issues in our state. IMPH also serves as a provider evidence-based information and to inform health policy decisions.  

 About The Duke Endowment 

 Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $3.6 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations  

 About the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina 

 Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, founded in 1996, has awarded more than $73 million in grants since its inception. Through the strategic use of resources, action, advocacy, and leadership, the Foundation’s mission is to address the causes and consequences of poverty throughout the state of South Carolina.