"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 Ms. Lewis' leadership, CareSouth has acquired a national reputation for innovation and quality. 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 Ms. 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."