SAN DIEGO  The American Medical Association (AMA) presented William H. Hester, M.D., associate dean of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia, with the Benjamin Rush Award for Citizenship and Community Service for a lifetime of service to his country and community. The award recognizes physicians who have gone above and beyond their professional call of duty to make an outstanding public service contribution.

“As a high school teacher, battalion surgeon in Vietnam, family physician and trailblazer, Dr. Hester has spent his entire life leading and serving,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “Across 51 years of medical service, he has distinguished himself and improved the lives and health of the people around him. It is an honor to present him with this award.”

Dr. Hester earned his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, and, after serving in the U.S. Army as a battalion surgeon in the Vietnam War, he served as a brigade surgeon in Fort Jackson, S.C.

He then spent a decade as a family physician in Timmonsville, S.C., a town with a population of 2,000 and a per-capita income of under $12,000, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. After practicing family medicine for 12 years, he established a family medicine residency training program in Florence County. A diplomat of the American Board of Family Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Hester has served as president of both the South Carolina Academy of Family Physicians and the South Carolina Medical Association.

The award was presented to Hester during the opening session of the 2019 AMA Interim Meeting in San Diego.


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