Slaughter receives Earl B. Higgins award

Sabra Slaughter, Ph.D., executive director of South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (SC AHEC), is the recipient of the Office of Diversity's 1998 Earl B. Higgins Achievement in Diversity Award. Every year since 1996 this award is bestowed upon a member of the MUSC family for his or her achievements in the pursuit of diversity, a goal established by the late Dr. Earl B. Higgins, who was director of the Office of Minority Affairs at MUSC.

Donald Tyner, business manager of SC AHEC, nominated Slaughter for his tireless work in various capacities to effect positive changes for all citizens, especially those who are disadvantaged. His commitment to the goal of achieving diversity extends to improving the quality of health care in South Carolina, with an emphasis on primary care, and eliminating medically underserved areas.

Slaughter was instrumental in developing a statewide program with more than 2,400 students in school-based health clubs in middle and high schools (300 former health club participants are currently enrolled in health training programs in South Carolina institutions of higher education or the technical school system, including programs in all six colleges at MUSC).

He has established workshops around the state to enhance the understanding of cultural diversity at SC AHEC family practice residency training centers and other SC AHEC institutions. He continuously works to improve MUSC’s and the community’s perception of diversity, using his influence to promote discussions on diversity as it relates to race, gender and disability.

Slaughter is a regular participant of MUSC and community health fairs and serves as a mentor and counselor for minority students interested in the health care professions.

“I know of no one since Dr. Higgins who has done more to promote diversity in the health professions work force in our state than Dr. Slaughter,” said James Buehler, M.D.

Slaughter is a native of Beech Island. After graduating from high school in Augusta, Ga., he served a tour of duty in the United States Air Force from 1964 to 1968. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California-Santa Cruz in 1973 and his master of arts degree in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1977. He completed his doctorate in psychology from Michigan in 1985.

In 1984, Slaughter came to Charleston as project director for the ASSIST program, a faculty development effort launched by the Charleston Higher Education Consortium. In 1988, he was appointed director of the Office of Minority Programs for SC AHEC, recruiting minority students into the health professions. He also served as director of the MUSC Office of Minority Affairs from 1992-93. He served in the position of associate executive director of SC AHEC in 1994 until his appointment to executive director in 1997.

Each year, the Office of Diversity receives several worthy nominations which makes it a difficult process to select just one candidate. The office also congratulates the other nine outstanding nominees and thanks those who took the time to nominate them:

  • George Arana, M.D., associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, nominated by Stephen McLeod-Bryant, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry
  • James C. Ballenger, M.D., chairman and professor in the Institute of Psychiatry, nominated by Pamela Thompson, business manager for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Tamara L. Brown, Ph.D., instructor in the Department of Psychiatry, nominated by Stephanie Hoyt, Ph.D. and Debbie Zoller, both of the Family Services Research Center, Department of Psychiatry
  • Sherron M. Jackson, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, nominated by team members, staff, and students of the Sickle Cell Program
  • Layton McCurdy, M.D., vice president for medical affairs and dean for the College of Medicine, nominated by Hal Currey, associate dean for operations in the College of Medicine
  • Stephen McLeod-Bryant, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, nominated by Eve G. Spratt, M.D., assistant professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, James E. Edwards, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and Joanne Conroy, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesia
  • James H. Tolley, M.D., attending physician in the Department of Urgent Care, nominated by Ralph M. Shealy, M.D., director for the Department of Urgent Care
  • Thomas D. Waldrep, Ph.D., director for the Center for Academic Excellence, nominated by Jennie Ariail, assistant director for the Center for Academic Excellence
  • Kenneth Whittemore, Ph.D., professor, Department of Health Administration and Policy and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, nominated by Valerie West, Ed.D., interim dean for the College of Health Professions

The selection committee includes members from the six colleges, the President’s Office, the Community Diversity Committee, the Office of Diversity, as well as past recipients of the award. The award was presented by LaValle Higgins, widow of Dr. Higgins, at a reception on April 9.

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