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Dr. Thad Bell Receives National Medical Association's 2013 Distinguished Service Award
Published:
8/7/2013 12:56:51 PM


Dr. Thad Bell
 

By Barney Blakeney 
 


Dr. Thaddeus John Bell last week received the National Medical Association’s 2013 Distinguished Service Award at a ceremony in Toronto, Canada. 

The retired Medical University of South Carolina Director of University Diversity and Associate Dean of Diversity in the College of Medicine has received a litany of awards during his 35 years in medicine, but he considers the most recent award a crowning recognition. 

Bell is a 1962 graduate of C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia and a 1966 graduate of South Carolina State University. He received a Masters degree in Science Education from Clark-Atlanta University in 1970 and his MD from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1976. Bell received his degree as Flight Surgeon from the School of Aero Space Medicine in 1983. He was a major in the U.S. Air Force Reserves 1983-1993. He currently is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Medicine. 

Bell said when he entered medical school he made a promise to God that if God allowed him to get in and out of medical school, he would use his skills to make a difference in his community. 

Bell grew up in the Allen-Benedict Court housing complex in Columbia. His pursuits in medicine have mirrored his commitment to diversity and making quality health care available to underserved populations. 

While on staff at MUSC Bell was invited to become an Assistant Dean of Minority Students. He became the second African American to hold the position. He later was recommended to serve as interim director of the Office of Minority Affairs. Three months later he was named its director. 

During his tenure he founded the Dr. Earl B. Higgins Diversity Award presented to the person at the university who has done most to promote diversity as well as the Dr. Earl B. Higgins Scholarship presented to minority students in need of financial support. 

In 2007, Bell was honored by Select Health Insurance, Inc. with an endowed scholarship named in his honor at the Coastal Community Foundation of Charleston. The scholarship provides financial support to African American students at MUSC in all six colleges. It soon will be endowed with $250,000 to keep it in perpetuity. 

In 2010, Bell retired from MUSC after serving as Director for University Diversity, Associate Dean for Diversity in the College of Medicine and a Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine. 

But during the intermittent years, Bell distinguished himself through service to the community. One such activity was the founding of the Cross Family Health Center in 1981.

Bell volunteered his services to the center twice weekly for 10 years. The center now is part of the Franklin C. Fetter Health Care system and in a few months will receive a new facility. 

Bell started the non-profit Closing the Gap In Health Care program to decrease health disparities by providing health education through lectures and radio and television spots reaching African Americans and underserved communities. 

Much of his professional activity grew from personal activity. 

For some 20 years Bell, a world-class sprinter, annually conducted the Bell and Schlau Fitness Track and Field seminars at Charleston Southern University which promotes health and fitness through track and field events.

Bell started the Lowcountry Jazz Festival five years ago to support his scholarship and the radios and television programs. 

Her says all his activities are like his children, each is special. 

He said he’s humbled by the presentation of the NMA Award. 

“It’s like getting a life time achievement award in medicine,” he said. “It gives value to all the things I’ve been doing throughout my career,” he said. 


Visitor Comments
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Submitted By: Sonja German Jefferson Submitted: 8/8/2013
WOW...what an honor! Congratulations!


Submitted By: Sonja German Jefferson Submitted: 8/8/2013
WOW...what an honor! Congratulations!


Submitted By: Anthony Von Mickle Submitted: 8/9/2013
What an absolute honor to know you. Take a bow Dr. Bell....take a bow, Sir.


Submitted By: Anthony Von Mickle Submitted: 8/9/2013
What an absolute honor to know you. Take a bow Dr. Bell....take a bow, Sir.


Submitted By: James Jackson Jr Submitted: 8/9/2013
congratulations my cousin (spann)...a lifetime of service continues. long live Omega Psi Phi


Submitted By: Veta Bell Faison Submitted: 8/9/2013
Congratulations Thad! You are " World Class" : a World Class Doctor, a World Class Person. I Love you. Your big sister, Veta


Submitted By: Mary Oglesby Turner Submitted: 8/9/2013
Awesome. So proud of a fellow SC State Alumni!!


Submitted By: Morris E. Brown, III, MD Submitted: 8/12/2013
Congratulations Dr. Bell. Thanks for being a great role model and mentor. Morris E. Brown, III, MD Lake City Family Medicine


Submitted By: Morris E. Brown, III, MD Submitted: 8/12/2013
Congratulations Dr. Bell. Thanks for being a great role model and mentor. Morris E. Brown, III, MD Lake City Family Medicine


Submitted By: Jimmie "Tarheel" Stroman Submitted: 8/12/2013
Congutlations


Submitted By: Lewis Berry Submitted: 8/13/2013
Congratulations Dr. Bell. Great to see classmates doing great things. Will get Frances to share with the class.


 
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