Healthcare Transformation Award: Dr. Brenda Thames
Currently serving as Prisma Health’s vice president of academic and faculty affairs, as well as the dean for institutional culture and inclusivity at USC School of Medicine, Dr. Thames spends her days connecting students with outside-the-classroom, real-life, empathy-inducing medical experience.
More than a decade ago, Dr. Jerry Youkey, the dean of USC School of Medicine, recruited Dr. Thames to connect the health care system to universities by serving as a translator between higher education and health care. Our nation faces a growing deficit of doctors, nurses, and health care workers, and for South Carolina, this shortage is likely to reach critical levels within the next 10 years.
Enter the MedEx Academy, a one-of-a-kind program developed to spark interest in health care careers among young people. Developed by Dr. Thames, it’s a facet of her career she considers her “sweet spot,” and a personal joy. I’m continually asking, ‘How do we look at what our workforce truly needs?’ If we’re going to keep people healthy and out of the hospitals, we have to think about more than doctors. Our focus must shift to well-being and preventative health.
“I try to learn and connect and listen as much as I can,” Brenda says. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. I didn’t make up that quote, but I live my life by it.”
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“Prisma Health is committed to advancing the health and well-being of those we serve. Dr. Thames exemplifies our vision through her remarkable leadership, wisdom, and commitment to our community and academic partners. She has been a driving force behind our workforce development efforts, which are instrumental in helping us meet patient needs both now and in the future.” – Angelo Sinopoli, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Prisma Health