The Center of Excellence


The Center of Excellence in Rural and Minority Health

The Center of Excellence in Rural and Minority Health was established on the campus of Voorhees College, a Historically Black College, in Denmark, South Carolina to improve access to health care services and eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities.

The mission of the Center of Excellence in Rural and Minority Health is to eliminate health disparities and improve access to quality health care for African-Americans and other minority groups, and all rural residents in Bamberg, Barnwell, and Allendale counties.   

The Center is composed of three major components:  Clinical Services; Educational Services; and Research.  All three components are essential for changes to occur.

Clinical Services:  Clinical services is one of the primary functions of the Center and greatly reduces the need for emergency and in-patient care.  The scope of services includes primary and preventive clinical care, vision care, dentistry, prenatal care, pediatrics, pharmacy services, and a variety of health screenings.  Provisions are made to offer extended hour services, specialty care, and home based care.  Thes services are provided by the Family Health Centers, Inc.

Educational Services:  Educational services are another primary function of the Center.  The Center serves as an interdisciplinary training site for health career students.  Practical application of the health care training in the rural setting will help students and residents gain exposure to and sensitivity of the unique challenges and opportunities.  The Center works to develop a faculty that will adequately meet the needs of the community and allow for expansion of new programs and experiences.  The education component supports increased collaboration among the partners that will provide:  Health care opportunities for minority and disadvantaged students; exchange programs for students and faculty; and a greater understanding of minority health issues in a rural setting. 

The health education component of the Center provides basic health guidelines through seminars, health fairs, brochures and the internet.  Health information highlights the six targeted disease areas (Cancer, Cardiovascular Diseases, Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Immunizations, and Infant and Maternal care). 

Research:  Another vital component of the Center is Research.  A minority focused research center has been established for the primary purpose of the collecting and analyzing data, serving as a valuable resource to policy makers, health care administrators, planners, providers, educators, and advocates.  This Center conducts and disseminates policy relevant analyses on issues of state and national significance in the areas of health care access and racial/ethnic health disparities.  To facilitate goal attainment, the Center of Excellence reaches out to the community to develop a collaborative partnership rooted in trust and mutual respect.  The faith-based community is extremely important in addressing the health issues, especially in African-American communities.  

Voorhees College is located in rural Bamberg County, one of six counties in the federally designated SC LowCountry Promise Zone.  There are only 22 areas in the United States designated as Promise Zones and the SC Promise Zone is only 1 of 4 rural promise zones.  The rurality of Bamberg County and surrounding areas  complicates the level of “distress" throughout the region - high unemployment, low educational attainment, high teen pregnancy, high chronic disease rate, limited acess to health facilites, and other risk factors.

For additional information on the Center, contact Wesley L. Boykin, Ph.D., M.P.H. at (803) 780-1349 or