The Center of Excellence in Rural and Minority Health was established in 2000, on the campus of Voorhees College, a Historically Black College in rural Denmark, South Carolina. The development of The Center was guided by a planning committee with select members from Voorhees College, South Carolina State Office of Rural Health, Medical University of South Carolina, University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Office of the Governor of South Carolina, Family Health Center, Inc., and community representatives. The original designers believed that in order to make a difference in the lives of rural and minority populations, three crucial characteristics of the Center of Excellence must be standardized:
1. It must be located in the local rural community in close proximity to the targeted service population.
2. It should be closely linked to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
3. It should provide integrated clinical services, health education, health behavior services, and research.
The fundamental purposes of The Center are to develop and implement activities designed to improve access to health care services and to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities. These goals are accomplished in three unique, but related, components in the organization design of The Center: clinical services, education and research.