BETHESDA, Md. — The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) has presented Ann Lewis, CEO of CareSouth Carolina, Inc., with the 2012 John Gilbert Award. The award, which recognizes longstanding excellence and leadership in community health, was presented to Ms. Lewis at the 43rd annual NACHC Community Health Institute (CHI) in Orlando, FL, a national conference attended by nearly 2,000 community health leaders from across the country.
“Ann Lewis set out on a mission 30 years ago to bring doctors and health services into South Carolina’s poor rural communities,” said Gary Wiltz, MD, NACHC’s Board Chair-Elect during the General Session award ceremony. “In that long journey, she has built one of the most progressive community-based systems of care in the country. Through Ann’s leadership, CareSouth has grown from a small family clinic into a regional, community- care health system. Today with 10 sites and 300 employees, it provides quality care to over 36,000 patients. That care has made a difference in the lives of people and the health of the communities it serves.”
Under Lewis’ leadership, CareSouth has acquired a national reputation for innovation and quality, according to the organization. Her efforts helped integrate behavioral health, dental and pharmacy services in a primary care setting at CareSouth Carolina. She serves as faculty for the Institute of Healthcare Improvement’s quality initiatives with the Indian Health Service, and has championed systems transformation to improve health care delivery at the South Carolina Primary Health Care Association.
“This work has been a privilege for me the past 32 years,” said Lewis. “Where else could I work in a job that allows the pursuit of a vision of health care systems improvement, community empowerment, and most off all, individual patient emergence from decades of health disparities, poor health outcomes, poverty, helplessness and hopelessness in which too many southern communities and individuals are mired.”
CareSouth Carolina is a private, non-profit community-based corporation delivering patient-centered health and life services in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. CareSouth Carolina operates centers in Bennettsville, Bishopville, Cheraw, Chesterfield, Hartsville, Lake View, McColl and Society Hill. Services provided by CareSouth Carolina include family practice, women services, geriatrics, social services, clinical counseling, pharmaceutical services, laboratory and X-Ray.