Teach Innovatively

Inaugural Medical School Class Marches On

uscsomg-charter-class-medallionForty-nine students graduated as part of the charter class of the nation’s 136th medical school, University of South Carolina (USC) School of Medicine Greenville. Using the phrase “a new school of thought” to guide development, the medical school has created a unique curriculum (see next article) that trains physicians to participate and lead in the transformation of healthcare delivery.

More than 70 percent of USC School of Medicine Greenville students are from South Carolina; almost half will continue their medical training in the Palmetto State. These members of the Class of 2016 made history three times before walking across the stage during their May 6 commencement ceremony.

  • This class was the first to enter USC School of Medicine Greenville and the first to graduate with accredited medical degrees.
  • Class members amassed an unprecedented 100 percent match for their residency placement on the first attempt, surpassing the national match average of 94 percent on the initial try.
  • Greenville Mayor Knox White proclaimed May 6 to be USC School of Medicine Day.

To see and learn more about this extraordinary class, click on these links:

A New Script: Exercise IS Medicine

Exercise is Medicine is a 12-week program in which patients receive customized exercise routines and ongoing emotional support from specially trained fitness professionals. Patients are “prescribed” into the program by their doctor and can participate at any YMCA of Greenville site or the GHS Life Center® Health & Conditioning Club. The program is a partnership with GHS, YMCA of Greenville, University of South Carolina (USC) School of Medicine Greenville and the American College of Sports Medicine.

For students at the medical school, exercise physiology and exercise as medicine are taught across all four years as a requirement. They learn the mechanistic aspects of prescribing exercise—such as how exercise affects each organ system—along with behavior change. That way, students can serve as models for this innovative concept.

“We model it within the curriculum as a requirement from day one,” said program pioneer Jennifer Trilk, PhD, assistant professor of Physiology and Exercise Science at the school. Dr. Trilk tells her students, “You are your first patient. You have to stay healthy in order to keep your patient healthy.”

Lessons are based on standardized models and adapted to increasing physical activity levels: moving patients from one stage to the next. Dr. Trilk has created a classroom-community model by partnering with GHS and its many physician offices to add U.S. physical activity guidelines into the electronic health records of the system. Doctors are required to ask patients how many minutes a day or days a week they exercise, for example, and then enter the response into the patients’ electronic medical records—as a vital sign comparable to blood pressure or cholesterol.

Medical students and Greenville doctors can track patients’ exercise frequency along with chronic, lifestyle-related disease markers. They electronically refer them, as needed, to Exercise is Medicine care coordinators who work with patients on increasing their physical activity.

Currently, four GHS practices are participating in the program. Expansion to other GHS practices is planned.

Find out more here.

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Operation, Anyone?

At the Teddy Bear Clinic in The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, kids get hands-on experience with X-rays, vital signs, surgery, blood draws, casting and other medical procedures. The exhibit is designed to reduce children’s fears of routine medical procedures by allowing youngsters to control the equipment and show them what it can do.

Included in the child-sized version of GHS Children’s Hospital is an operating table with Buddy the Bear as the patient about to undergo surgery. Visitors use giant tongs to carefully remove body parts—lights and buzzers are activated (like the game of Operation) when surgery doesn’t quite go as planned.

Through role-play and interaction with simulated organs and bones, the exhibit teaches basic anatomy while easing children’s fears about seeing a doctor. The exhibit also fosters familiarity with a hospital environment, potentially inspiring a future in health care.

JUMP Start to Manage Diabetes

GHS’ Center for Family Medicine recently launched JUMP to help patients take control of diabetes. Because many of the center’s patients have limited incomes, they face extra challenges in managing this disease. JUMP provides patients with education and skills, group support and community resources.

One innovative community resource was Scott Roarke, a culinary instructor at Greenville Technical College. Roarke taught a two-hour cooking class at GHS this spring. He showed participants how to make healthy, quick meals using quinoa and how to best slice and sauté vegetables.

Mike McGirr (left), executive director of Clemson University’s FEED & SEED Design Studio, and David Lominack (center), South Carolina market president
for TD Bank, present a check to Kerry McKenzie, childhood obesity prevention coordinator with the Bradshaw Institute that will help expand the Farm to Belly program.
Mike McGirr (left), executive director of Clemson University’s FEED & SEED Design Studio, and David Lominack (center), South Carolina market president 
for TD Bank, present a check to Kerry McKenzie, childhood obesity prevention coordinator with the Bradshaw Institute, that will help expand the Farm to Belly program.

Farm to Belly Program Serves Up Healthy Meals

The Choosy Farm to Belly project, an innovative program that educates and encourages healthy eating habits in children as young as 3, finished a successful pilot program at the North Franklin Road Head Start Center. The project’s goal is to introduce children to fresh vegetables and fruits—not only by taste but also by learning how to cook at home with their families. More than 180 children and their families took part in the pilot.

Through the program, nutritionist-modified family recipe kits, including fresh local produce, were provided at no cost every other week for 30 weeks. Each child received a weekly recipe bag with a homework assignment to prepare and enjoy a healthy meal with the help of their parents.

The program, part of Children’s Hospital’s Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health & Advocacy, is a collaboration among Children’s Hospital, Clemson University and more than 10 community partners and volunteers.

Partnership Keeps Cancer Survivors Moving

The GHS Center for Integrative Oncology Survivorship (CIOS), in partnership with Caine Halter YMCA, has developed the YMCA Exercise Navigation program.

Exercise Navigation is an oncology rehabilitation program
 for those who want to work out on their own. A YMCA exercise navigator meets with patients at GHS’ Cancer Institute to develop an exercise plan. She also meets with them at the YMCA, assists with program enrollment, schedules appointments with athletic trainers, and if needed, coordinates financial aid for gym membership.

CIOS and the YMCA also have developed Wellness Works Rx, a program for cancer
 survivors who want to continue their oncology rehab. Wellness Works Rx offers ActivTrax, which helps participants schedule workouts, plan meals and make grocery lists.

Learn more here.

The Search Is On

In August, Baptist Easley became the state’s third Project Search site, in partnership with the Pickens County School District, S.C. Vocational Rehab, and the Pickens County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs. This international program provides transitional job skills to high school seniors with disabilities and special needs.

Students, along with their teacher and job coaches, take classes in the hospital; each student must complete three internships within the school year. Internships take place throughout the site where the students work to develop job skills. At Baptist Easley, these areas include Environmental Services, Food and Nutrition Services, Radiology, physician practices and nursing units. GHS is part owner of Baptist Easley.

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Gain Credit for Experience

GHS has partnered with Furman University to provide Learning Experience Transcripts that document learning outside of the traditional credit-based system. Students can share these transcripts with universities and employers and, in many cases, earn credit at their home institutions. Starting with GHS’ Medical Experience Academy (MedEx), this program is being rolled out to other areas, including community paramedics.


2016 Annual Report Table of Contents