Alliance for a Healthier SC Executive Director Wins Prestigious Honor

SCHA’s Dr. Foster was recently selected to receive the James E. Clyburn Health Care Leader in Public Health Award

Dr. Rick Foster, the Executive Director of the Alliance for a Healthier South Carolina and Senior Population Health Advisor for the South Carolina Hospital Association, has recently been selected to receive the James E. Clyburn Health Care Leader in Public Health Award. The Award recognizes the contributions made by individuals and community organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to improving and protecting the health of the community, particularly vulnerable populations with established health disparities. Dr. Foster will be receiving the honor at the James Clyburn Health Disparities Lecture, “Turbulent Times: Navigating Towards Health Equity” on April 23 in Columbia.

Dr. Foster joined SCHA in 2007 as the Senior Vice-President for Quality and Patient Safety. Under his leadership, the Association created a dynamic, collaborative quality and patient safety program involving all health systems in the state and went on to achieve major improvements in the quality of care. SCHA has since received national recognition for its focus on applying the principles of high reliability in healthcare and pursuing zero preventable patient harm. 

In 2012, Dr. Foster moved into a new role at SCHA as a Senior Advisor for Population and Community Health Improvement. Since that time, he has been actively engaged in leading the development of the Alliance as a statewide health improvement coalition, now with over 60 member organizations from 8 different sectors. Over the past two years, the Alliance has been actively engaged with SC DHEC in creating the first-ever state health improvement plan for South Carolina under the name Live Healthy SC. Dr. Foster has also been a leading voice and tireless advocate for achieving health equity for all South Carolinians and is presently leading a collaborative effort to build a Health and Racial Equity Action Plan for our state.

Dr. Foster received his BS degree from Clemson University, his MD degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and completed his residency in Family Medicine at Self Regional Healthcare in Greenwood, SC. Prior to joining SC, Foster served as Chief Medical Officer for the Trident Health System in Charleston. He has been married to Lesa Hart Foster for 41 years and has four children and five grandchildren. He lives in Wadmalaw, SC. 

For more information on the Alliance for A Healthier SC go to healthiersc.org. For more information on the James E. Clyburn Leader in Public Health Award, including information on the award presentation and lecture, go to sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/public_health/study/areas_of_study/health_services_policy_and_management/clyburn_lecture/index.php.