Rep. G. Murrell Smith, Jr. receives MUSC Healthy Communities Award

Leadership has major impact on expansion of telehealth services across South Carolina

Sumter, S.C. (Oct. 16, 2017) – The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) issued its 2017 MUSC Healthy Communities Award to Representative G. Murrell Smith, Jr., Esq. on Oct. 16 at Palmetto Health Tuomey Hospital in Sumter. Rep. Smith received the award for his ongoing support of telehealth expansion to deliver quality health care to those who need it the most, regardless of where they live in South Carolina.

The MUSC Healthy Communities Award is presented to an individual, group or organization who works to target specific community health issues, demonstrate leadership, and/or collaborate in ways with MUSC that bring about innovative access to the state’s only comprehensive academic medical center.

“Representative Smith embodies all that this award represents,” said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS. “To continue using technology to create more access to quality care, we know partnering with leaders in our communities is the best way to accomplish this. We are grateful for the unwavering role that Representative Smith has served as it relates to changing what’s possible for the health of our communities.”

Rep. Smith and the leadership of the House Ways and Means Committee championed the first telehealth appropriation in 2013, including crucial support from chairman Rep. W. Brian White. Since that time, Rep. Smith and South Carolina legislators have provided key funding that has produced an open-access, statewide telehealth network. Now connecting more than 200 sites that deliver multiple telehealth services, one life-saving program is the Telestroke program, which connects 26 hospitals and has provided specialized, expert consults on more than 10,000 patients in life-threatening situations.

“We’re now providing access to rural areas of the state and that’s one way that we are improving and innovating health care in South Carolina; by partnering with entities that bring access to care for every citizen of our state,” Murrell said. “I am honored to receive this award and commend MUSC and the members of the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance for having such an effective and well-coordinated effort to improve the health and wellness of South Carolina’s residents.”

This is the third year that MUSC has issued the MUSC Healthy Communities Award, with last year’s award honoring South Carolina Senator Hugh Leatherman. Sen. Leatherman received the award for his role in securing state allocations for the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center and advanced tobacco-related cancer research. The inaugural honoree for the award was North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, for his leadership working with the North Charleston City Council to donate a large parcel of land for the development of an outpatient pediatric facility in that area.

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About MUSC
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and 700 residents in six colleges (Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy), and has nearly 13,000 employees, including approximately 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $2.3 billion, with an annual economic impact of more than $3.8 billion and annual research funding in excess of $250 million. MUSC operates a 700-licensed bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized children's hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), Hollings Cancer Center (a National Cancer Institute-designated center), Level I Trauma Center, Institute of Psychiatry, and the state’s only transplant center. In 2017, for the third consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the number one hospital in South Carolina. For more information on academic programs or clinical services, visit musc.edu. For more information on hospital patient services, visit muschealth.org.