Steadman Hawkins gift to MedEx in honor of Dr. Hawkins


Steadman Hawkins gift to MedEx in honor of Dr. Hawkins
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Physicians at Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas (SHCC) have taken a step that will affect lives in the Upstate for a generation. They didn’t decide to change the way they treat patients or to purchase new technology. Instead, they collectively decided to make a personal gift in honor of their mentor and founder of the practice, Richard Hawkins, M.D., that will identify, challenge and mentor talented young people as they prepare for a career in health care through the Medical Experience (MedEx) Academy. The gift establishes the Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas Drive Scholars Endowment Fund.

The MedEx Academy reaches high-performing students in three phases or “tiers” of their academic progress. In Tier 1, rising high school seniors are introduced to the concept of health care as a career and provided hands-on experience in a variety of career tracks. Tier 2, for rising college juniors, includes basic concepts and requirements of health care, a strong research component and shadowing of physicians in patient-care experiences. Tier 3, for rising college seniors, is even more in depth, providing hands-on research and clinical experience in the student’s chosen interest area. Participating students earn school credit for their time, and philanthropy helps provide scholarships and stipends to ease financial barriers to participation. Some students would not be able to take part in the program without financial assistance.  

“The physicians of SHCC combined to make a $250,000 gift, an investment that will reap exponentially greater benefits as MedEx Academy students graduate from college or medical school programs and begin their careers,” said GHS Vice President of Academic Development Brenda Thames, Ed.D. “Many of the participating students will become the healthcare professionals who will care for the Upstate as we grow. They will touch the lives of thousands of patients over their careers.”

MedEx Academy also serves as a pipeline to guide talented upstate students with an interest in health care to medical school – the newly expanded University of South Carolina School of Medicine–Greenville is on track to accept its first four-year class in fall 2012. But the program isn’t only in place to train doctors.

GHS President and CEO Michael Riordan explained, “We need doctors and nurses – but we also need pharmacists, therapists, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals. MedEx Academy 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.”

Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas became a GHS-owned partner in 2004. “Moving under GHS management was a natural fit,” observed Michael Kissenberth, M.D., SHCC managing partner. “Both organizations align with a mission to provide compassionate, patient-centered care, research and education. As the relationship has matured, everyone has benefited.”

When GHS Office of Institutional Advancement Vice President George Maynard approached the physician group about investing in MedEx Academy, it made sense right away.

“The Steadman Hawkins model has always been to provide a comprehensive team approach to care, guiding patients and their families through initial care and diagnosis, treatment options, rehabilitation, and then back to full activity and lifestyle,” Dr. Kissenberth pointed out. “The MedEx Academy follows the same logic. We’re taking these talented young people with an interest in medicine, informing them, guiding them and mentoring them to live up to their potential. The upstate community deserves the best healthcare professionals, and we want to fill the MeEx Academy and our expanded medical school with the best and brightest students to step into those roles someday.”

To learn more about MedEx Academy or to join the community leaders who have invested in the program, visit or contact Gina Blohm at (864) 797-7748 or