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Board of Directors

Board of Directors
Palmetto Health’s board of directors is composed of 16 voting members. Six members (including one physician and the Richland Memorial Hospital board chair) are appointed by the Richland Memorial Hospital board of trustees and six members (including one physician and the Baptist Healthcare System board chair) are appointed by Baptist Healthcare System of SC, Inc. board of trustees. These 12 members then elect three more directors from the community at large. Members serve three-year terms except for the CEO and the Richland and Baptist chairs who serve commensurate with their terms of office.

J. E. "Rick" Wheeler – Chair
Lester P. Branham, Jr. – Vice Chair
Jean E. Duke – Treasurer
Beverly D Chrisman – Secretary
Charles D. Beaman, Jr. – CEO
James A. Bennett
Paul V. Fant, Sr. 
Sara B. Fisher
John W. Foster, Jr.
Rosalyn W. Frierson
William C. Gerard, M.D.
Joel E. Johnson, D.M.D.

George S. King, Jr.
James H. Herlong, M.D
Jerome D. Odom, Ph.D.
Candy Y. Waites

Director Biographies

James A. Bennett
OCCUPATION: SC Central Area Executive Vice President, First Citizens Bank
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in political science, University of South Carolina; graduate of South Carolina Bankers School
SERVICE: Baptist Healthcare System board of trustees member; Claflin University board of trustees member; SCANA board member; BHS Finance Committee chair; Pitts Fund Committee member; Governor's School for the Arts Foundation board; USC Education Foundation; former Palmetto Health Foundation board member; former Education Oversight Committee member; former Governor's appointee to SC Ports Authority; named Outstanding Young Banker of the Year; named Board Member of the Year by Columbia Urban League; Francis Burns United Methodist Church (Columbia, SC) member.  Baptist board appointee to the Palmetto Health board of directors.

Lester P. Branham Jr.

Lester P. Branham, Jr. – Vice Chair 
OCCUPATION: Retired minister; retired member S.C. House of Representatives
EDUCATION: Camden High School, 1951; Wake Forest University, B.A., 1955; Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, bachelor of divinity, 1958.
SERVICE: Chairman of the board and executive committee 1993 to present, Baptist Healthcare System of S.C., Inc.; former trustee, Furman University; former board member and past chair, Florence School District 3; member and past president, Lake City Rotary Club; former trustee, Midwestern Seminary; former member, S.C. Baptist Convention General Board and Executive Committee, former chairman of General Board Executive Committee; former member, S.C. House of Representatives, House District 61; former chair, Palmetto Health board of directors; Chairman Emeritus of Palmetto Health board of directors.  Palmetto Health Baptist appointee to the board of directors.

Beverly Chrisman

Beverly D. Chrisman - Secretary
OCCUPATION: Retired government executive and political consultant
EDUCATION: Martinsburg High School, W.Va.; American Institute of Banking; University of Pittsburgh.
SERVICE: Former member and chairman of the board, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA); former board member, South Carolina Recreation and Park Association (SCRPA); former president, SCRPA Citizens Branch; former board member, NRPA Southern Regional Council; former president, NRPA Citizens Branch; former member and chairman of the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission; former member of Irmo Chapin Recreation Foundation; former member, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; former member, SC Chamber of Commerce; former member, Lexington School District Five Education Foundation; former member, Saluda Shoals Park Foundation; former member of University of SC Associates board; former Sunday school teacher and Capital Stewardship director for Riverland Hills Baptist Church; member of Hospital Services, Inc board; member of Providence Home board; member, Palmetto Health Foundation board; member, Baptist Healthcare System of SC board; founding member of Palmetto Health board and former chairman of Governance and Community Health committees. Recipient of SC Order of the Palmetto; SC Order of the Silver Crescent; NRPA Life Trustee; NRPA Southern Region Citizen of the Year; Armed Forces Recreation Citizen of the Year; SCRPA Lifetime Achievement Award; SCRPA Volunteer of the Year; SC Park Recreation Tourism Citizen of the Year; and 2013 recipient of National Cornelius Amory Pugsley Award. Recognized by the naming of Beverly D. Brandes Community Park in Irmo, SC. Profiled in Columbia Business Monthly magazine. Recognized for establishing and signing protocols for NRPA with countries of Canada, Japan, Australia, and Great Britain to collaborate and enhance recreation opportunities in those countries. Palmetto Health Baptist appointee to the board of directors. 

Jean Duke

Jean E. Duke – Treasurer
OCCUPATION: Financial Consultant
EDUCATION: University of South Carolina, Darla Moore School of Business, B.S., Accounting; Corporate Financial Management Executive Program, Harvard University; UNUM/Wharton Disability Institute, University of Pennsylvania.
SERVICE: Board of trustees, Executive Committee, and president, University of South Carolina Business Parnership Foundation; board of trustees, Executive Committee and chair, Columbia College. Previous service includes board of directors and Audit Committee chair, UCI Medical Affiliates, Inc.; board of directors, Executive Committee, and Finance Committee chair, United Way of the Midlands; board of directors, Trustus Theatre; board of directors and Finance Committee, Governor's School for Science and Mathematics Foundation; board of directors, Executive Committee, and treasurer, The Cooperative Ministry; board of directors, Executive Committee, and president, Columbia City Ballet; board of directors, SC Chamber of Commerce; board of directors and Finance Committee chair, Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce; TWIN Diamond Academy Award-Palmetto Center for Women; Distinguished Young Alumni-Darla Moore School of Business; Financial Executive of the Year-Columbia Chapter of IMA; Outstanding CPA in Business and Industry-SC Association of CPAs.  At-large appointee to Palmetto Health board of directors.


Paul V. Fant, Sr.
OCCUPATION:  Senior Executive Consultant, Dominion Resources. Former President and COO, Carolina Gas Transmission and Senior Vice President, SCANA Corporation
EDUCATION:  North Carolina State University, B.S. Electrical Engineering 1975
SERVICE: Member, board of directors, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America; member, Southern Gas Association; chairman of the board of trustees, Claflin University; member, board of directors and former chair, Columbia Urban League; advisory board member, BB&T; member, University of South Carolina President's Advisory Council; former chairman and board member, Palmetto Health Foundation; former board member and chair of the audit committee, South Carolina Research Authority; recipient of SCRA's Knowledge Economist Award; former board member, Columbia Museum of Art; former chairman and board member, United Way of the Midlands; long-time member, United Way Tocqueville Society; former board member and chair Hope Worldwide SC; member, Columbia Church of Christ.  At-large appointee to Palmetto Health board of directors.

Sara B Fisher

Sara B. Fisher
OCCUPATION: Retired, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, NBSC
EDUCATION: Agnes Scott College, B.A.
SERVICE: Member, board of directors, NBSC; member, board of directors, ETV Endowment; board of trustees, Richland County Library Foundation; former director and chair, S.C. Independent Colleges and Universities; member, board of directors, South Carolina Bankers Association; chair, Capital City Club board of governors, Executive Committee member; board of directors, S.C. Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Education Committee; board member, S.C. Chamber Excellence in Education Foundation; chair, Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge Advisory Council; former trustee and chair, Washington Street United Methodist Church Foundation; 2005-2006 chair, Midlands Heart Walk, SC American Heart Association; former board member, Nominating Committee chair, and Children's Hospital of Palmetto Health chair; 2000-2003 co-chair, Capital Campaign, Washington Street United Methodist Church; 2003 Helen Lynch Memorial chair, Palmetto Health Richland; 1994 chairman, board of directors of Palmetto Health Richland Children's Hospital; 1993, chairman, Children's Miracle Network Telethon, Children's Hospital, Palmetto Health Richland; 1993 chair, Greater Columbia Festival of Trees; 1991-2004 Champions of Children's Hospital (1988-1989 president); 1990 chairman, Greater Columbia Festival of Trees; 1989 vice chairman, Columbia Chapter, Institute of Financial Education; 1989-1990 president, Columbia Chapter of National Association of Bank Women; 1989-1990 chairman, Red Stockings Review to benefit Palmetto Place; 1986-1989 member of Children's Hospital board of directors;1986-1989 member of Palmetto Place Emergency Shelter board of directors; 1986 graduate of Leadership Columbia; 1977-1993 member of Junior Woman's Club of Columbia, president 1986-87; 2009 Woman of Influence, Columbia Business Monthly; 2005 Women Who Lead, Lake Murray Magazine; 2005 Red Dress Ambassador; 1999 recipient of Robbie Benson Award for Service to Children's Hospital; 1994 recipient of YWCA TWIN Academy Award; 1991 Young Manager of the Year, S.C. Bankers Association. Member of Washington Street United Methodist Church; former treasurer and Finance Committee chair, Palmetto Health board of directors; Asset Advisory Committee chair and member of Audit Compliance and Finance Committee of Palmetto Health board of directors.  At-large appointee to Palmetto Health board of directors.

John B Foster

John W. Foster, Jr.
OCCUPATION: J.W. Foster Agency, Management Consulting and Insurance
EDUCATION: Public schools of Richland County, Richland County, SC; B.A., Mars Hill College
SERVICE: Member, Baptist Healthcare System (BHS) board of trustees since 1990; former member, BHS Executive Committee; former chair, BHS Finance Committee; member, Gemale Trust Fund Committee; former member, Pitts Fund Committee; member, Palmetto Health Foundation Cancer board; former member, Palmetto Health Pastoral Services Advisory Committee; former member, Palmetto Health Community Health Committee; member, Palmetto Health Quality and Patient Safety Committee; former General Agent with Provident Life & Accident Insurance Company, President's Club, Leaders Club, and Agent of the Year; retired Intelligence Officer, United States Naval Reserve; former member alumni council, Mars Hill College; member, Liberty Hill Presbyterian Church, Liberty Hill, S.C.  Palmetto Health Baptist appointee to the board of directors.

Rosalyn Woodson Frierson, Esq.
OCCUPATION: Attorney, Director South Carolina Court Administration, S.C. Judicial Department, Associate Municipal Judge
EDUCATION: B.S. Business Administration, University of South Carolina; Juris Doctor, University of South Carolina School of Law, Columbia, SC.
SERVICE: Vice Chair, Richland Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees; Past Chair and Secretary of Richland Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, Past Chair of Scholarship Committee, Past Chair of Education Committee; former President Board of Directors, S.C. Women Lawyers Association; former Chairperson of Irmo High School Improvement Council; member S.C. Access to Justice Commission and S.C. Alternate Dispute Resolution Commission; Past President, Conference of State Court Administrators; Past Vice Chair, National Center of State Courts Board of Directors; Past President, Columbia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Member House of Delegates S.C. Bar Association, Past member, House of Delegates, American Bar Association; and 2014 Inductee into the National Center for State Courts' Warren E. Burger Society. Palmetto Health Richland appointee to the board of directors.

William C Gerard MD

William C. Gerard, M.D.
OCCUPATION: Professional Director of Emergency Services, Palmetto Health; Director of Education PHR Emergency Medicine Residency; Carolina Care, P.A.; CEO, RSQ911 Solutions, LLC
EDUCATION: The Ohio State University; Medical Education at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo; Residency in Emergency Medicine, Richland Memorial Hospital-University of South Carolina; Masters of Medical Management, Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
SERVICE: Professional Director of Emergency Services, PH; director of Education, Emergency Medicine Residency Program; former chief of staff, Palmetto Health Richland; chairman, board of managers, Palmetto Health Quality Collaborative, LLC; Richland Memorial Hospital board Class R physician designee to Palmetto Health board; Core Academic Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency; Clinical Associate Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine and Surgery, USC; Medical Director EMS, Richland County Emergency Services; Medical Director, LifeNet SC Helicopter Program; Medical Director, Richland County EMS; Medical Director, Columbia-Richland Communication Center (CRC 911); SC Midlands Regional EMS Medical Director; Medical Director, Congaree National Park, US National Park Service; Medical Director, Columbia Fire Department First Responder Service; Medical Director, SC Law Enforcement Division Tactical EMS; former president and board member, South Carolina College of Emergency Physicians (SCCEP); Carolina Care, board of directors; C2 Holdings, LLC, board of managers; Palmetto Health Richland appointee to the board of directors.


James H. Herlong, M.D.
OCCUPATION: Retired Urologist
EDUCATION: Davidson College, 1955-59; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1959-63; Internship and General Surgery, University of North Carolina, 1963-65; Surgeon, U.S. Army, 1965-67; Urology Residency, Duke University, 1967-71.
SERVICE: Member, Baptist Healthcare System of SC, Inc. Board of Trustees; 2001 Chief of Staff, Palmetto Health Baptist; former treasurer, Columbia Medical Society; past vice chair, Council of the South Carolina Medical Association; member, Southeastern Section of the American Urological Association; member, Carolina Urological Association; member, Columbia Medical Journal Club; former president, South Carolina Urological Association; past councilor, Second District of the South Carolina Medical Association; past chief of urology, Providence Hospital; Clinical Professor of Surgery, University of South Carolina School of Medicine; former trustee, Providence Foundation, Providence Hospital; former S.C. Alternate Delegate and Delegate, Southeastern  Section of American Urological Association; chief of urology, Palmetto Health Baptist; president, Columbia Urological Associates, P.A. Palmetto Health Baptist appointee to the board of directors.

 Joel E Johnson DMD Joel E. Johnson, D.M.D.
OCCUPATION: General, Cosmetic and Sports Dentistry
EDUCATION: Spring Valley High School 1974; University of South Carolina, 1978; Medical University of SC College of Dental Medicine, 1984
SERVICE: Member of Baptist Healthcare System Board of Trustees since 1992; American Dental Association; SC Dental Association; Greater Columbia Dental Society; Volunteered to treat children at the Children's Dental Clinic for 30+ years. Academy for Sports Medicine, Board of Directors; SC Jaycees; National Youth Sports Coaches Association; Coached Spring Valley High School Baseball players in summer league. Alumni Council of the College of Science and Mathematics at the University of South Carolina; Spring Valley Baptist Church, member, former deacon and high school Sunday school teacher, play drums for the praise band. Palmetto Health Baptist appointee to board of directors.

George S. King, Jr.
OCCUPATION: Executive Vice President and Director of Private Wealth and Asset Management, South State Wealth
EDUCATION: University of Virginia, B.A. in Economics; University of South Carolina, Master of Business Administration
SERVICE:  Member, Richland Memorial Hospital board of trustees; former member, Palmetto Richland Cancer Center board; member, Trinity Housing Corporation; past president and member, Palmetto Baseball League; past chairman and member, Leadership Columbia. Palmetto Health Richland appointee to board of directors.


Jerome "Jerry" D. Odom, Ph.D. 
OCCUPATION: Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Provost Emeritus; Retired Executive Director, USC Foundations
EDUCATION: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, B.S., 1964; Indiana University, Ph.D., 1968; University of Bristol, England, postdoctoral.
SERVICE: Alexander von Humbolt Fellow, Stuttgart, West Germany, 1975-1976; Amoco Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award, University of South Carolina, 1984; Michael J. Mungo Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, University of South Carolina, 1993; Russell Research Award for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering, University of South Carolina, 1994; former board member of Governor's School for Science & Math; USC Educational Foundation; USC Development Foundation; USC Business Partnership Foundation; USC Research Foundation; Junior Achievement; USC Alumni Council board of governors. Also former board member of EPSCoR National Coalition (chair, 1998-2000) and EPSCoR National  Foundation (chair, 2005). Current board member and president, USC Child Development Center. Recipient of Honorary Doctorate Degree in Science from USC in 2014. Former chair and treasurer of Palmetto Health board of directors; former chair of Audit Compliance and Finance Committee of Palmetto Health board of directors; Chair, Richland Memorial Hospital board of trustees. Palmetto Health Richland appointee to the board of directors.  

Candy Y. Waites

Candy Y. Waites
OCCUPATION: Project Manager, Senior Move Managers, LLC
EDUCATION: BA English, Wheaton College, Norton, Mass.; Masters in Public Administration, University of South Carolina.
SERVICE: Secretary, Richland Memorial Hospital board of trustees, former vice chair of Richland Memorial Hospital board of trustees and Officers' Committee, member of Education & Research Foundation; former member SC Cancer Center Board; former member Palmetto Richland Memorial Foundation Board; former member of Wachovia Bank Columbia Advisory Board; former member Columbia Housing Authority Board; former member and chair of Richland County Council; former member of the SC House of Representatives; former board member of The Southern Institute on Children and Families-Southern Regional Task Force on Child Care, appointed by Governor; former member Deputy Directors board; former member of the Capitol Senior Center board; member of Senior Care Professionals of the Midlands; Palmetto Health Richland appointee to the board of directors.





James E. "Rick" Wheeler – Chair
OCCUPATION: Vice President of M-D MetalSource in West Columbia, SC 
EDUCATION: University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Business Administration; graduate of Leadership Columbia and Leadership South Carolina.
SERVICE: Richland Memorial Hospital board of trustees; Chair of the Palmetto Health board of directors, Chair of Executive and Executive Compensation committees, and ex-officio member of Community Health, Audit Compliance and Finance, and Quality and Patient Safety committees.  Other community activity: board and Executive Committee of Midlands Education and Business Alliance; member of the Rotary Club of the Vista Night (past President). Previous service includes: the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and its Executive Committee (including roles as Chair of the Education Committee, Chair of Membership Services, Leadership Columbia Alumni Association, the Industry Council of Executives (ICE) and the Manufacturer's Council); board of Midlands Technical College Foundation (past Chair, Executive Committee and Governance Committee); United Way of the Midlands, Community Impact Committee; Prevent Child Abuse SC / Voices for SC's Children (past Chair of Prevent Child Abuse South Carolina, Executive Committee, and Merger Committee); volunteer leadership roles for the American Heart Association - Midlands Affiliate; the Cultural Council of Richland-Lexington; McKissick Museum Advisory Council; and the Columbia Design League. Palmetto Health Richland appointee to the board of directors.