Monday, August 28, 2017: Congressman Ralph Norman, who won the recent special election for SC’s 5th congressional district

Please join us on Monday, August 28th when we will welcome Congressman Ralph Norman, who won the recent special election for SC’s 5th congressional district to our podium.

Ralph Norman is a lifelong resident of South Carolina’s 5th district. He studied at Rock Hill public schools, graduating from Rock Hill High School in 1971. He attended Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC, and graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business.

Ralph has established himself as one of South Carolina’s leading businessmen. He joined his father’s property and construction business right after college, and grew it into one of South Carolina’s most successful commercial real estate developers.

Over the course of his career, Ralph has served with a number of organizations dedicated to improving the community. These organizations include the York County Home Builders Association, the Children’s Attention Home, the Salvation Army, and the Medical University of South Carolina Board of Visitors.

He has consistently demonstrated his dedication to conservative principles. In his 10 years in the South Carolina House of Representatives, Ralph consistently voted in favor of limited government, financially sound policies, and a strong national defense.

Ralph has been Married for 42 years to Elaine Rice Norman. Elaine also is a lifelong resident of South Carolina, growing up in Belton. Together, they have 4 children: Ralph Warren, Anne, Mary Catherine, and Caroline, and 15 grandchildren.

CART FACTS – Tong Li | CART Fund 2017 Grant

Posted by Barbara Ivey, CART Operations VP on May 1, 2017

Research Project: Determining the contributions of age and neuroinflammation on the pathological conversion of Tau

The CART Fund will award Tong Li, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a 2017 research grant in the amount of $75,000. The grant will be awarded on May 9, 2017 at the Annual meeting of The CART Fund in Columbia, SC.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia and a devastating illness for the elderly, is characterized by built-up of clumped proteins observed inside (called tau aggregates) and outside (called amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques) of nerve cells that lead to memory problems and eventual loss of these cells. Past and current efforts have been focused on finding drugs that could treat either the amyloid or tau problem. Figuring out how these two types of clumped proteins worked together to cause nerve cells to die may hold the key towards finding a solution for AD.

Recently, we established a new mouse model of AD that exhibits accelerated loss of nerve cells due to the built up of clumps of both Aβ and tau. This new mouse model will be valuable for further studying the basis of AD and for screening of drugs that can provide effective therapies for AD. Using this mouse model, we showed that Aβ plaques (outside of nerve cells) facilitate the aggregation of the tau (inside of nerve cells). However, our results indicate that Aβ plaque alone is not sufficient for the built up of tau aggregates. A second risk factor (such as, expression of a fragment of human tau protein) is required to drive the built-up of tau aggregates. Thus, we envision that a combination of risk factors facilitates built-up of tau to drive loss of nerve cells in AD, an idea that can be tested directly in our novel mouse model.

We consider age and inflammation as potential risk factors that drive the built-up of tau aggregates. Among the known risk factors of AD, age is the greatest risk factor and a fundamental driver for development of the disease. AD is also characterized by an inflammatory response. Therefore, we hypothesize that age and inflammatory response facilitate the built-up of tau aggregates to drive nerve cell loss and cognitive decline in AD. We will test this hypothesis using our new mouse model. Resolution of these questions will impact our view regarding disease mechanisms and identification of targets for novel therapeutic strategies for AD.

The Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust Fund (CART) is a project of the Rotary Clubs of North America. Founded in 1995 in Sumter SC, CART provides financial support for Alzheimer’s research projects that are yet to be supported by extensive preliminary data but have the potential to substantially advance biomedical research. Learn more at www.cartfund.org

Monday, August 14, 2017: Congressman Jeff Duncan, SC’s 3rd Congressional District

Jeff Headshot 2017

Please join us on Monday, August 14th when we will welcome Congressman Jeff Duncan, SC’s 3rd Congressional District to our podium.

Jeff Duncan is a South Carolina native and a 1988 graduate of Clemson University. Prior to being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, he served as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2002-2010 and was the President and CEO of J. Duncan Associates, a South Carolina based, family owned real estate marketing firm which specialized in statewide real estate auctions.

Elected in 2010 to the 112th Congress, Jeff currently sits on two House committees including the Homeland Security Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.  He also serves as the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere Subcommittee.

 Jeff has been married to his wife Melody for twenty-eight years and they have three sons: Graham, John Philip, and Parker. The Duncan family are members of First Baptist Church of Clinton, South Carolina.

Monday, August 7, 2017: Steven Rodney, Asst. Professor, USC Dept. of Physics and Astronomy and Miriam Atria, President/CEO for the CCLMC

Please join us on Monday, August 7th when we will welcome both Steven Rodney, Asst. Professor, USC Dept. of Physics and Astronomy and Miriam Atria, President/CEO for the CCLMC to our podium.

Dr. Steven Rodney is an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina in the department of physics and astronomy.  Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he attended Case Western Reserve University, majoring in Physics and Astronomy, and then went on to graduate school at the University of Hawaii.   After completing his PhD he spent 6 years as an postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University, and joined the faculty at USC in 2015.   His current research interests rely on the Hubble Space Telescope for observations of distant supernova explosions that are magnified by gravitational lensing.  

Miriam Atria is President/CEO for the Capital City / Lake Murray Country Regional Tourism Board (CCLMC).  This organization promotes the tourism region of Lexington, Richland, Newberry, Saluda Counties.  Atria has worked in the tourism industry and served in her position since 1983.  Prior to joining CCLMC, she was the Marketing & Communications Director for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina.  In this position, she designed sales and marketing materials as well as created a formal training program for sales representatives and independent agents for BCBS throughout the state.

Miriam Atria moved to Columbia in 1973 after serving as Director of Communications for Johnson & Higgins in Charlotte, NC.  At the time her cliental included Harris-Teeter Supermarkets, Ruddick Corporation and Prudential Insurance Company.

Atria has also served as the Executive Director and Producer of the Boat Show in Columbia for 20 years and created South Carolina’s RV Show and SC Golfers Showcase.   She continues to serve as a member of the South Carolina Association of Tourism Regions (SCATR), an organization formed in 1989 of all tourism regions in the state.   She also currently serves as an ex-officio member of the Greater Columbia Hotel/Motel Association along with several other tourism and hospitality related organizations.

Atria has been the catalyst for creating such events and programs for the tourism region as Lake Murray’s July 4th Celebration, Taste of Lake Murray and lead the way in securing funding to create and maintain the Reference Light Program on Lake Murray.  She is responsible for bringing national events to this region such as the upcoming Forrest Wood Cup in August 2017. (Forrest Wood Cup fishing event which created a $46.5 million-dollar economic impact for the region in 2008 and returned in 2014).   Atria’s leadership has brought several state awards to the regional tourism program including the 2009 SC Governor’s Cup on Tourism, the 1990 Recipient of SC Most Outstanding Tourist Attraction presented by the SC Chamber of Commerce for her leading role in the relocation and renovation of the Historic Lorick Plantation House.    Also in March 2009, Atria received the Palmetto Patriot Award and in 2016, Atria received the prestigious Rudy Award from the Greater Columbia Hotel & Restaurant Association.

Atria is married to local attorney Nicholas Atria and acknowledges her proudest accomplishment is rising twin sons now 29 as faith based professionals.

Monday, July 31, 2017: Shawn Stinson-Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC

Shawn Stinson013a cropped

Please join us on Monday, July 31st when we will welcome Shawn Stinson of Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC to our podium.

Shawn Stinson serves as Senior Vice President of Managed Care & Population Health at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.  In 2014, Dr. Stinson came to BlueCross to serve as the Chief Medical Officer and Vice President for Clinical Innovation.  Prior to that he was the Chief Quality & Patient Safety Officer of Palmetto Health.

A native of Greensboro, NC, Dr. Stinson earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.  He attended medical school at Duke University and completed his internship and residency training Johns Hopkins Hospital in Internal Medicine.  He began his career as Assistant Chief of the Medical Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1991 and advanced to Assistant Professor of Medicine before coming to the University of South Carolina School Of Medicine in 1995.

Dr. Stinson serves on the Quality Advisory Council of the South Carolina Hospital Association.  He is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians and is board-certified in Internal Medicine.  Of many notable career highlights, he is a recipient of The Lewis W. Blackman Award for a SC Healthcare Executive as well as multiple O’Neill Barrett Teaching Excellence Awards and Faculty Member of the Year Awards from the USC School of Medicine.  Since coming to BlueCross in 2014, Dr. Stinson has been working on efforts to further the Quadruple Aim in healthcare: initiatives that Improve the Quality of Care; Lower Costs; and Improve Patient and Provider Satisfaction.