Archived News/Press Releases

GHS launches innovative medical training academy for young people
July 26, 2010
GREENVILLE, S.C. – To help meet the Upstate’s growing healthcare needs and attract young people into the workforce, Greenville Health System has launched the GHS Medical Experience Academy, a pipeline for students interested in advanced training in health care. The debut class includes 12 rising high-school seniors, but GHS envisions the program expanding down to the elementary level and up to college.
To help provide financial support, GHS is teaming with The Greenville Drive and community members to help fund scholarships and stipends. “The Drive Scholars Program” will feature an inaugural Field of Dreams Gala on Oct. 7 in the in-field of Fluor Field, complete with a recommended starry-night dress code of black ties and tennis shoes. The initiative is modeled after a highly successful partnership between the Boston Red Sox and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, but the GHS initiative goes further by providing a summer curriculum.
“We need doctors and nurses – but we also need pharmacists, therapists, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals,” said Michael Riordan, GHS president and CEO.  “Our new initiative will help local students make informed career decisions that we hope will be strongly influenced toward health care and be a catalyst to bring them to the Upstate after they complete their education. Our vision is to transform health care for the benefit of the people and communities we serve –and now we’re transforming the way we think about the pipeline to careers in health care.”
The looming physician shortage and potential impact on the Upstate has already prompted GHS to partner with the University of South Carolina to consider expanding USC’s medical school presence in Greenville into an actual campus here.
“Teamwork is vital on the field and in real life,” said Craig Brown, president and co-owner of the Greenville Drive. “By working together, we will strengthen the Upstate by preparing the next generations of healthcare providers.” Quality health care is also a key driver of economic development and a fundamental requirement for the Upstate to maintain its quality-of-life advantage,” added the business leader.
Students in the four-week pilot program get “real-life” experience as well as mentoring and academic tutoring to equip them to make informed career decisions and prepare for continued health care training. The initial group of students was chosen from Carolina Academy and Southside Academy; future summer participants will be drawn from Greenville County Schools as a whole. Interested students can get more information by contacting Al Squire, director of GHS workforce development, at
Students will be eligible to receive college scholarships as well as stipends to help minimize potential economic barriers. Funds will also be made available on an as-needed basis for tutoring needs and test preparation for SAT or MCAT entry exams, acquisition of materials and equipment and access to other resources.
In addition, students will also be eligible to receive academic credit through GHS’ academic partnerships for each tier level of student participation. The founding pipeline partners include Furman University, Clemson University, Greenville Technical College, The University of South Carolina and Greenville County Schools.
“We will feel the reverberations of the Medical Experience Academy for years to come,” said Dr. Brenda Thames,Ed.D., vice president of academic development at GHS. “Our commitment to collaborating with our academic pipeline partners will connect students to healthcare learning experiences that will inform their career choices.”
If interested in donating, please contact George Maynard at (864) 797-7730 or visit