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About Us

Program History

The Improved Care and Provision of Rural Access to Eliminate Health Disparities (ICARED) initiative began through a collaborative partnership between the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in 2015 to expand programs training, recruiting and retaining primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas. 

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*Each star represents a training site for the 2017-2018 ICARED rural health initiative.

In 2017-2018, as part of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine’s ICARED rural health initiative, our faculty team trained 77 social work and other health profession students in rural health practice and skills, conducted 9 trainings across South Carolina that reached almost 140 health professionals, and created resources related to rural health and the recruitment and retention of behavioral health practitioners in rural SC for state agencies.

Our Mission

The South Carolina Rural Health Workforce Innovations project is a collaborative effort between the University of South Carolina College of Social Work and the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare that aims to support and develop sustainable rural and primary healthcare education in South Carolina through rural health workforce training and research.


We strive for a future where all South Carolinians have access to high value, quality health care.


Our program aims to address rural healthcare needs in South Carolina by promoting the recruitment and retention of providers, examining the barriers to Telehealth utilization, providing resource development opportunities, and training health profession students in the unique needs of rural residents in South Carolina.

Our program aligns with the South Carolina Rural Health Action Plan, as we aim to address "access to and availability of health services" and "coordinates and establishes resource development opportunities to address workforce development".


To continue the spirit of the ICARED initiative, The College of Social Work (COSW) has partnered with the Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare to create the Rural Health Workforce Innovations project. Ultimately, we hope to help train social work students for rural practice and to improve the retention of behavioral health practitioners in rural South Carolina. To further the training and education of our social work students, our team has developed a series of course modules for social work classes that focus on rural health practice issues and skills. The modules consist of materials from the South Carolina Office of Rural Health, best practice information about rural health service delivery and interprofessional teamwork, and case studies about interprofessional rural health care. The modules have been developed for asynchronous online delivery to students, so they can be refined and delivered beyond the life of this project at the COSW. In addition, the COSW has placed over twenty social work students in rural health field placement internships to receive in-vivo immersion training on rural health. 

Our team has also partnered with the South Carolina Area Health Consortium (AHEC) to achieve our aim to improve the retention of behavioral health practitioners in rural South Carolina areas.  Through our partnership we have scheduled and will be providing in-person trainings in 8 rural areas throughout South Carolina that can reach 22 of the state's Disease Hotspot Counties: 

  • Greenville/Anderson

  • Abbeville/Greenwood/McCormick

  • Orangeburg/Bamberg/Barnwell/Allendale

  • Charleston/Dorchester/Colleton

  • Horry/Marion

  • Florence/Lee/Darlington

  • Kersaw/Fairfield

  • Marlboro/Dillon, Chesterfield

The trainings provide a framework for understanding recruitment and retention in rural SC interprofessional health services, as well as strategies to enhance retention efforts of health professionals in rural areas. We also hope to promote professional connections and resource sharing by offering some time to network with interprofessional colleagues in attendance.

Our team also aims to develop interprofessional health practice, workforce retention & capacity building briefs, webinar trainings, and this website for current students, graduates and community professionals in rural areas. 

Ongoing Projects


Our Team

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Dr. Teri Browne

Principal Investigator


Dr. Aidyn Iachini

Co-Principal Investigator


Dr. Melissa Reitmeier

Co-Principal Investigator


Dr. Dana DeHart

Co-Principal Investigator


Bryce Kananowicz
Ph.D Student, MSW

Program Coordinator

Our Partners

We would like to thank all of our community partners for supporting our work in this program.

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