Spence M. Taylor, M.D., Vice President of Physician Engagement and President & Chief Academic Officer of the GHS Clinical University, joined Greenville Health System in 1992. In his current role, Dr. Taylor is responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of the GHS Clinical University and oversight of all academic initiatives at GHS.
Most recently, Dr. Taylor served as Vice President of Academics and Executive Director of the University Medical Group at GHS. Under his leadership, GHS has experienced unprecedented growth and advancement in academics, including the opening of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, development of a one-of-a-kind academics and research model called the GHS Clinical University, and designation as an academic health center. Previously, Dr. Taylor also led GHS’ Department of Surgery as Chairman and Program Director, expanding the general surgery residency, creating the state’s only vascular surgery residency, and developing a minimal access surgery fellowship and vascular medicine fellowship.
In addition to his roles with Greenville Health System, Dr. Taylor also serves as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Diversity for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.
Dr. Taylor is certified by the American Board of Surgery in general surgery, general vascular surgery, and is a registered vascular technologist. He is a member of most major surgical organizations and has held offices in several of these organizations. Currently, Dr. Taylor is president of the Southern Surgical Association and a director of the American Board of Surgery. He has authored numerous book chapters, abstracts, and journal articles. He also holds the academic appointment of professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia and Clemson University.
Dr. Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Clemson University and a medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. He completed his internship and general surgery residency at the Medical University of South Carolina and a residency in peripheral vascular surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
Brenda J. Thames, Ed.D., Vice President of Academic and Faculty Affairs, joined Greenville Health System in 2007. In her current role, Dr. Thames is responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of all education and workforce development initiatives at GHS through GHS Clinical University. She works with local schools and regional colleges and universities to develop collaborative partnerships focused on advancing health care through improved and expanded opportunities for current and future health professionals.
Prior to joining GHS, Dr. Thames served as associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Health, Education and Human Development at Clemson University.
Dr. Thames serves on numerous boards and committees representing the voice of health care, particularly from education and workforce perspectives. She earned a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Mississippi State University as well as a master’s degree in guidance and counseling and a doctorate in vocational and technical education from Clemson University.
Derek B. Payne, M.B.A., Executive Director of Finance and Administration, joined Greenville Health System in 1991. Derek holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Furman University (1991) and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of South Carolina (1996). Prior to joining GHS, he worked with the public accounting firm of Cherry, Bekaert & Holland, CPAs, in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has served GHS as an internal auditor, financial analyst, Budget Manager, Director of Business Operations, and Director of Financial Analysis and Planning. He was appointed to his current role in January, 2012, and serves as the lead financial and administrative officer for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and the Clinical University of the Greenville Health System.
Cindy Youssef, M.A., Liaison for Academic Development at Greenville Health System, serves as the GHS Vice President of Academics’ senior staff support with executives, vice presidents, executive directors, and other senior leaders within GHS to ensure collaborative relationships among all academic partners of the GHS Clinical University model. Cindy collaborates and works with the Vice President of Academics to plan, manage, and lead strategic initiatives for the Clinical University; and facilitates the development of goals to foster an ecumenical environment to support the GHS vision and mission. She is the liaison and primary staff to several advisory committees and councils on campus, including the MedEx Academy Advisory Board, South Carolina DLI Health Professions Advisory Council, Academic Advisory Committee, and the Academic Council. Prior to her role at GHS, Cindy served as Manager of Diversity Programs at the Riley Institute at Furman University, where she oversaw all diversity programming and events for the Riley Institute.
Cindy is heavily involved in the Upstate community. She is a co-founder and past president of Greenville Rotaract, the Upstate’s first young professional Rotary organization. Additionally, she is youth programs director at St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in Mauldin. Cindy serves on the boards of the Hispanic Alliance, Clarity, the Diversity Recruitment Consortium (DRC) and the South Carolina Diversity Committee. She also spends time as an ESL and GED tutor among various community centers.
Cindy has been recognized in the community through several awards. She is a recipient of the 2011 Best and Brightest Under 35 Award and was named 2011 YWCA Dream Achiever. In 2008, Cindy was named a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, which granted her an opportunity to complete her graduate studies and represent the United States in Melbourne, Australia.
Cindy, a native of Greenville, is a 2007 Furman graduate, with a bachelors of arts degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies. She completed her masters of arts degree in Diplomacy and International Relations from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia (2009).
Windsor Sherrill, Ph.D., Interim Chief Science Officer at GHS and Clemson University’s Interim Associate Vice President for Health Research, joined the Clemson faculty in 1999, bringing a decade of management experience in academic medical centers. She has led research initiatives that span diverse disciplines, includingmedical and health management education, health finance and policy, and the evaluation of health services and health education programs for underserved groups. She has led or collaborated on research initiatives garnering more than $1.5 million in external funding and resulting in numerous refereed publications, book chapters, professional reports, and scholarly presentations.
Dr. Sherrill earned her bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest, MBA/MHA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and doctorate in health policy from Brandeis University.
Jerry R. Youkey, M.D., GHS Executive Vice President for Medical and Academic Affairs and Dean of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, joined Greenville Health System in 1998. Dr. Youkey is responsible for the operational initiatives and strategic direction of all graduate and professional studies offered at GHS through GHS Clinical University.
Prior to joining GHS, Dr. Youkey served as chief of the department of surgery and director of the peripheral vascular fellowship program at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania. He also served in the United States Army Medical Corps and was honorably discharged in 1984 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Dr. Youkey is certified by the American Board of Surgery in general vascular surgery. He is a member of several professional societies and has authored numerous books, abstracts and journal articles. He holds the academic appointment of professor and dean at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.
Dr. Youkey earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stanford University and a medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin. He served a rotating internship and general surgery residency at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, and a fellowship in peripheral vascular surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Eli Hestermann, Ph.D., GHS Executive Director of Undergraduate Studies & Students and Furman University’s Executive Director for Health Education at GHS, joined Furman’s faculty in 2003. He has taught cell biology, pharmacology and toxicology as well as several introductory courses and seminars. Dr. Hestermann’s research in molecular pharmacology has been funded by NCI, SC-IdEA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence, and the National Science Foundation Research Infrastructure Improvement grant. In 2008, he was the South Carolina INBRE nominee for the Sydney McNairy Mentoring award; in 2012, he was recognized as an HHMI Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor, and from 2012-2014 he has held the Henry Keith and Ellen Hard Townes Chair in science. He is the founding director of Furman’s Interdisciplinary Molecular Core research facility.
Dr. Hestermann earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Prior to joining Furman, he performed post-doctoral research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.