SAN DIEGO  Harris Pastides, PhD, president emeritus of the University of South Carolina’s (USC) flagship system, was elected today to the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees at the organization's Interim Meeting. Pastides is the fifth person ever to hold the public member position on the board of the nation's largest and most prominent physician organization.

From August 2008 until August 2019, Pastides served as the 28th president of the University of South Carolina system, which serves over 52,000 students across eight institutions and 20 geographic locations. During his tenure as president, he pioneered innovative programs like Palmetto College, On Your Time Graduation, Gamecock Gateway, Gamecock Guarantee and the Gamecock Student Athletic Promise, which provided greater access, flexibility and affordability to South Carolinians seeking higher education.

“Harris Pastides is an exemplary leader and educator and brings with him a wealth of knowledge, experience and skill to the AMA Board of Trustees," said AMA Board Chair Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH. “The AMA is driving the future of medicine by reimagining medical education, training and lifelong learning, and we look forward to benefiting from his expertise in higher education as we work to make medical education easy to access across a physician’s lifetime.”

The son of Greek immigrants, Pastides received the prestigious 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which pays homage to the contributions immigrants and their children make to the nation. In 2017, Pastides also received the SC Urban League Whitney M. Young Award for his work to promote civil rights and equal opportunity.

Pastides graduated from SUNY Albany with a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry. He also earned two masters’ degrees and a doctorate in epidemiology from Yale University.

The AMA first added a public member to its Board of Trustees in 2002. Pastides will begin his four-year term at the conclusion of the AMA Annual Meeting in June 2020. He will replace Kevin W. Williams, MSA, who has served on the board since 2016.

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The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.