Executive Team

Prisma Health–Upstate executive team

Spence Taylor

Spence M. Taylor, MD, President of Prisma Health–Upstate, joined Prisma Health in 1992. He is responsible for leading this highly integrated Upstate affiliate with its eight medical campuses, over 180 physician practice sites, more than 15,000 team members, including over 1,100 physicians and providers, and operating revenues of approximately $2.3 billion. Before taking his current leadership role, Dr. Taylor served as the affiliate’s Vice President of Physician Engagement. He has also served as its Vice President of Academics, Executive Director of the employed physician group, and chairman and program director for the Department of Surgery.

Under his leadership, Prisma Health–Upstate has experienced unprecedented growth and advancement in academics, including the opening of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, development of a one-of-a-kind education and research model called the Health Sciences Center, and designation as an academic health center. He also led the expansion of the general surgery residency, creating the state’s only vascular surgery residency, and developing a minimal access surgery fellowship and vascular medicine fellowship.

In addition to his roles with Prisma Health–Upstate, Dr. Taylor serves in a leadership capacity for a number of professional organizations. Currently, he is chair of the American Board of Surgery and a past president and current council member for the Southern Surgical Association.

Dr. Taylor is a practicing surgeon certified by the American Board of Surgery in general surgery, general vascular surgery, and is a registered vascular technologist. He has authored numerous book chapters, abstracts and journal articles. He also holds the academic appointment of professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia and Clemson University.

Dr. Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Clemson University and a medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. He completed his internship and general surgery residency at the Medical University of South Carolina and a residency in peripheral vascular surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

James Ellis

James Ellis, MD, Vice President of Clinical Affairs and Clinical Chief of Staff, joined Prisma Health in 2008. In this role, Dr. Ellis serves as the chief clinical strategic advisor and counsel to the Prisma Health–Upstate president and senior leadership regarding internal and external clinical issues, processes, procedures and communications. His focus is on relationship management of the affiliate’s employed physician group, as well as advance practice providers and clinical staff.

Prior to his current role, Dr. Ellis served as Medical Director of the affiliate’s employed physician group, which includes more than 1,500 providers. In his early years in Greenville, Dr. Ellis helped build Prisma Health–Upstate’s convenient care network, which now consists of more than 32 physicians practicing at four locations serving approximately 100,000 patients annually. Before coming to Prisma Health, he founded an emergency medicine group in Atlanta that, at the time, was the largest single specialty private group in the state of Georgia with more than 40 emergency physicians.

Dr. Ellis has a professional interest in venue medicine, having worked with the NFL, NCAA, MLB, NASCAR, LPGA, World Cup Soccer, and both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. He has coordinated team medical care for the NFL at the Super Bowl with Medical Sports Group for more than 20 years and worked 13 seasons as an associate team physician for the Atlanta Falcons.

Dr. Ellis received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina. He obtained his medical degree from Louisiana State University and completed an emergency medicine residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans in 1988. He is an assistant professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and faculty with the Steadman Hawkins Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. Dr. Ellis practices clinically at Prisma Health’s MD360 Convenient Care.

Scott Porter

Scott Porter, MD, MBA, FACS, Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, joined Prisma Health in 2009. In this role, Dr. Porter works to engage employees and the community in the planning and development of programs that grow cultural competence. He also works to build pipeline and leadership programs for students and team members and create health and cultural parities within Prisma Health and the communities it serves.

Dr. Porter is an orthopaedic oncologist. He is also a clinical professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, an adjunct professor in the Department of Bioengineering for the College of Engineering and Science at Clemson University and a consulting physician for Shriners Hospitals for Children–Greenville. He serves on the board of the American Orthopaedic Association and is a member of the American College of Surgeons, Aspen Global Leadership Network and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He is past president of the South Carolina Orthopaedic Society and a former residency program director in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Prisma Health–Upstate.

Dr. Porter earned his bachelor’s degree in biology at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and his medical degree at Yale University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency in orthopaedic surgery at Carolinas Medical Center and his fellowship in musculoskeletal oncology at the University of Chicago. He also earned a MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

William Springhart

Dr. Patrick Springhart,  Vice President of Institutional Innovation for Prisma Health–Upstate, is a urologist with Regional Urology and former chair of the affiliate’s Division of Urology. He is also a clinical assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.

Dr. Springhart received his medical degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He attended the University of Illinois at Chicago for his residency training, during which time Dr. Springhart was nominated for and received the John D. Silber Award for clinical acumen and bedside manner amongst his peers in a nine-state area. Thereafter, he spent two years at Duke University Medical Center for a robotic/laparoscopic and endourologic fellowship, wherein he helped to develop the robotic surgery program.

Brenda Thames

Brenda J. Thames, EdD, Vice President of Academic and Faculty Affairs, joined Prisma Health in 2007. In this role, Dr. Thames provides executive leadership for academics at Prisma Health–Upstate and its shared Academic Health Center. This includes setting strategic direction and facilitation of inter-institutional collaboration among the affiliate and its academic partners to ensure a vibrant learning environment that supports education and research initiatives. She is also responsible for building public/private partnerships to promote programs and initiatives that link education, research and patient care. She leads strategic academic initiatives that require collaboration among Prisma Health clinical professionals and university faculty to expand health care education and research.

Prior to joining Prisma Health, Dr. Thames served as associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Health, Education and Human Development at Clemson University.

Dr. Thames serves on numerous boards and committees representing the voice of health care, particularly from education and workforce perspectives. She earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Mississippi State University as well as a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and a doctorate in vocational and technical education from Clemson University.

Donald W Wiper III

Donald W. Wiper III, MD, Vice President of Institutional Culture, Experience and Organizational Science, joined Prisma Health in 2009. In this role, Dr. Wiper shares the affiliate’s responsibility for leading transformational change by developing strategic vision and guiding initiatives that advance the organizational culture and enhance the Prisma Health experience for patients, families and team members.

Dr. Wiper has served in a variety of leadership roles at Prisma Health, including chair of the Department of OB/GYN and  physician leader of the Patient Experience and Culture Performance Team. He also is a gynecologic oncologist. Dr. Wiper holds the academic appointment of professor of Medicine, University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and professor, Clemson University School of Health Research.

Outside of Prisma Health, Dr. Wiper serves on the YMCA Camp Greenville Board of Advisors and is medical director of Camp Greenville. Before joining the system, he worked at the Maine Medical Center as director of Gynecologic Oncology, program director of the OB/GYN residency program, and assistant chairman of the Department of OB/GYN.

Dr. Wiper earned a bachelor’s degree at Bowdoin College and a medical degree from Case Western Reserve University Medical School. He completed his residency at the University Hospital of Cleveland followed by a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Jerry Youkey

Jerry R. Youkey, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer of Prisma Health–Upstate and Dean of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, joined Prisma Health in 1998. Dr. Youkey is responsible for the operational initiatives and strategic direction of all graduate and professional studies offered at the affiliate. Prior to joining Prisma Health, Dr. Youkey served as chief of the Department of Surgery and director of the Peripheral Vascular Surgery Fellowship Program at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. Before that, he served in the United States Army Medical Corps and was honorably discharged in 1984 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Dr. Youkey is certified by the American Board of Surgery in general vascular surgery. He is a member of several professional societies and has authored numerous books, abstracts and journal articles. He holds the academic appointment of clinical professor and dean at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.

Dr. Youkey earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stanford University and a medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He served a rotating internship and general surgery residency at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, and a fellowship in peripheral vascular surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

REGIONAL LEADERSHIP

Central Region

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Central Region, joined Prisma Health in 2011. Johnson oversees operations of Prisma Health’s Greenville Memorial Medical Campus, North Greenville Medical Campus, Patewood Medical Campus and Simpsonville Medical Campus, and 142 practice sites and other health services offered in the Central Region.

Prior to his vice president role at Prisma Health, Johnson served as president of Greenville Memorial Medical Campus. Before coming to Prisma Health, he served as interim president and CEO and chief operating officer for Saint Joseph Health System in Atlanta. He also served as executive vice president for operations for WellStar Health System in Marietta, Ga., and as president and CEO for Cobb Hospital and Medical Center in Austell, Ga. He is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and master’s in health administration from Duke University. He currently serves on the boards of the South Carolina Hospital Association, United Ministries and the Palmetto Region American Red Cross.

C. Wendell James

C. Wendell James III, MD
Regional Chief Clinical Officer

Eastern Region

John Mansure

John Mansure, Chief Operating Officer for the Eastern Region, joined Prisma Health in 1979. Mansure oversees operations of the Eastern Region, which includes Prisma Health’s Greer Medical Campus as well as physician practices and outpatient programs and services in Greer and Spartanburg County.

Prior to this role, Mansure served as president of Greer Medical Campus. Before that, he served as administrator of facilities development, where he was responsible for the construction of Prisma Health’ss Greer and Patewood medical campuses, as well as major renovations at Prisma Health–Upstate’s flagship hospital, Greenville Memorial.

Outside of Prisma Health, Mansure serves as past chair of the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce and vice chair of the Prisma Health Federal Credit Union and Greer Middle College Charter School. He also serves on the boards of Greer Partnership for Tomorrow, Cancer Survivors Park Alliance, Blue Ridge Council–Boy Scouts of America and Eastside YMCA.

Mansure earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in health administration from Duke University. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Jesse Stafford

Jesse Stafford, MD
Regional Chief Clinical Officer

Southern Region

Justin Benfield

Justin Benfield, Chief Operating Officer for the Southern Region, joined Prisma Health in 2010. Benfield oversees operations of the Southern Region, which includes Prisma Health’s Laurens County Medical Campus as well as physician practices and outpatient programs and services in Laurens, Abbeville, Newberry and Greenwood Counties.

Prior to this role, Benfield served as operations director of Prisma Health–Upstate’s employed physician group. Before that, he served as administrator of Carolina Cardiology Consultants, PA – one of the state’s largest cardiology groups – where he helped the practice expand from 14 to 28 providers serving multiple counties.

Benfield earned his bachelor’s degree in healthcare management from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale and a master’s degree in business administration with a focus in health care from Southern Wesleyan University.

C. David Williams

C. David Williams III, MD, Chief Clinical Officer for the Southern Region, joined Prisma Health in 1985. Dr. Williams is responsible for overseeing the Southern Region, which includes the Laurens County Medical Campus as well as physician practices and outpatient services in the surrounding area. He is also chair of the department of radiology and a practicing diagnostic radiologist with a specialty focus in women’s breast health.

Prior to his role at Prisma Health, Dr. Williams served as president of Greenville Radiology, PA from 1992 until 2009.

Dr. Williams currently serves on the Prisma Health–Upstate Medical Staff Executive Committee. He previously chaired the Greenville Health Corporation Board of Directors and has served as both president and vice president of the affiliate’s Medical Staff. He has also chaired a number of affiliate committees, including the Medical Advisory Committee, Medical Staff Performance Improvement Committee, Medical Executive Committee and the Credentials Committee.

Dr. Williams holds faculty appointments as clinical assistant professor in Radiology with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and clinical assistant professor with the School of Health Research at Clemson University. He was also a clinical assistant professor in Radiology at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia.

Dr. Williams earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and graduated magna cum laude from Wofford College. He obtained his medical degree from Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University, where he was selected as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Dr. Williams completed his residency in diagnostic radiology and nuclear radiology at North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem, N.C., and is certified by the American Board of Radiology.

Western Region

Jeanne Ward, Chief Operating Officer for the Western Region, joined Prisma Health in 2014. Ward oversees operations of the Western Region, which includes Prisma Health’ss Oconee Medical Campus and Baptist Easley Hospital as well as 30 physician practice sites and other health services offered in the Western Region.

Prior to this role, Ward served as president and CEO of Oconee Medical Center and was instrumental in Oconee’s becoming part of Prisma Health in 2014. Prior to that, she served as vice president of Patient Care Services at Oconee Medical Center.

Ward also served on the faculty of The Joint Commission, where she taught seminars on hospital standards, and as a faculty member for the Clemson University School of Nursing.

Ward currently serves on the board of the Oconee Economic Alliance. She is a longstanding member of the American Hospital Association and previously served on the board of the South Carolina Hospital Association.

Ward obtained her nursing degree from Williamsport Hospital School of Nursing in Pennsylvania, her master’s degree in public health in nursing administration from the University of Minnesota and her doctorate in education from Clemson University.

SCOTT SASSER

Scott M. Sasser, MD, FACEP, Chief Clinical Officer for the Western Region, joined Prisma Health in 2014. Dr. Sasser helps oversee the clinical programs and services in the Western Region, which includes Prisma Health’ss Oconee Medical Campus and Baptist Easley Hospital as well as 30 physician practice sites and other health services. He is also chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and a practicing emergency medicine physician.

Before joining Prisma Health, Dr. Sasser spent 12 years at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., where his roles included director of global health programs for the Department of Emergency Medicine, director of the Global Health Fellowship in emergency medicine, and associate medical director of the Emergency Department at Emory University Midtown Hospital.

In addition to his roles with Prisma Health, Dr. Sasser has served with and received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the United States Agency for International Development for his work in emergency medical services, emergency preparedness and response, and global health.

Dr. Sasser has authored multiple journal articles, abstracts and book chapters. He has also been invited to give numerous national and international presentations. He currently holds the academic appointments of professor of emergency medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and clinical professor of emergency medicine in the Clemson University School of Health Research.

Dr. Sasser earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Auburn University and a medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine. He completed his emergency medicine residency and emergency medical services fellowship at Carolinas Healthcare System in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Sasser is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.