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Representative Funderburk recognized as Inaugural Health Policy Program Fellow

Posted: February 25, 2014 5:09 p.m.
Updated: February 26, 2014 5:00 a.m.

S.C. Rep. Laurie S. Funderburk along with ten other members of the South Carolina General Assembly have been recognized in the inaugural class of fellows from the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health’s (IMPH) Health Policy Fellows Program. That program, supported by The Duke Endowment and Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, provides members of the General Assembly with clear, evidence-based health policy information in a non-partisan manner.

"The Health Policy Fellows Program offers the chance for elected officials to receive evidence-based information on health issues from a neutral source," IMPH Executive Director Kester Freeman said. "The inaugural offering of this program represents a critical milestone in the work of the SC Institute of Medicine and Public Health to inform policy to improve health and healthcare in our state." Mr. Freeman presented certificates of recognition to the fellows.

Rep. Funderburk and members of the inaugural class of fellows were recognized during a reception on February 4 in the presence of some of their legislative colleagues from the House and Senate. Others in the audience included representatives from the funding organizations and members of the IMPH board of directors. IMPH’s board of directors includes:

The Honorable Thomas Alexander, Member, SC Senate

Mr. William Barnet, CEO, The Barnet Company

Dr. Fred Carter, Chairman of IMPH and President, Francis Marion University

Dr. Leroy Davis, Executive Director, Center of Excellence in Rural and Minority Health, Voorhees College

The Honorable James Hodges, Vice-Chairman of IMPH and Senior Advisor, McGuireWoods Consulting, Former Governor, State of SC

Ms. Pamela Lackey, President, AT&T South Carolina

Dr. Harris Pastides, President, University of SC

Mr. Ed Sellers, Chairman, Board of Directors, BC/BS of SC

The Honorable David Wilkins, Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, Former US Ambassador

Dr. Gerald Wilson, Surgeon, Midlands Surgical Associates

As chairman of the IMPH Board, Dr. Fred Carter expressed, "We’re delighted at the success of this inaugural Health Policy Fellows Program. The legislators interacted extensively with the presenters and sustained an ongoing dialogue about health programs and the state of healthcare in this state. We are all appreciative of The Duke Endowment and Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina working with us to make this possible."

The Fellows Program is intended to assist elected officials by providing resources and information related to complex health topics. These issues are sometimes clearly defined but can frequently be embedded in factors outside the influence of traditional health and healthcare.

This program highlights the importance of considering health implications as factors across all policy decisions. 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.

"The Health Policy Fellows Program was a unique opportunity to engage in extended, nonpartisan dialogue with some of my legislative colleagues about the critical health challenges we face in South Carolina," Rep. Funderburk said, "Presenters included state and Southeastern regional health leaders and key community partners like Eat Smart, Move More Kershaw County. The evidenced-based information will be a helpful resource for each of the participants as we make health policy decisions."

The next offering of the Health Policy Fellows Program is planned for the fall of 2015.

The full class of inaugural Fellows:

Senator John W. Matthews, Jr., Senator Clementa C. Pinckney, Representative Rita A. Allison, Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Representative Laurie S. Funderburk, Representative Phyllis Henderson, Representative Jenny A. Horne, Representative David J. Mack III, Representative Joe H. Neal, Representative Andy Patrick and Representative Mike Ryhal.

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