Graham Adams, PhD, chief executive officer for the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH), has been awarded the Order of the Palmetto. The Order of the Palmetto is South Carolina’s highest civilian honor presented in recognition of a lifetime of extraordinary achievement, service and contributions on a national or statewide scale.  The first Order of the Palmetto was presented in 1971 by then-Gov. John C. West.

Adams was nominated for the award by state Sen. Ronnie Cromer, R-Newberry, who wrote, “I have had the opportunity to personally witness his tireless work to improve and enrich the lives of all South Carolina’s citizens. I can think of no one more deserving of this prestigious award.”

State Rep. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, also wrote a letter of nomination in which he said, “Not only has (Adams) proven to be a champion for those whose healthcare needs traditionally have the hardest time being met, his knowledge in the realm of grant development, infrastructure development, working with philanthropists, and serving as a go-to for many of us in government roles has been invaluable.

“One of the most generally unknown aspects regarding access to healthcare is its effect on educational and economic outcomes for individuals. When citizens have their basic health needs met, they are statistically proven to perform better in school, work, and at home. I am confident in saying that South Carolina has not only benefitted health-wise, but academically and economically as a result of Dr. Adams’ tireless efforts.”

Adams joined the SCORH staff in 1995 and was appointed CEO in 2002. He holds adjunct faculty positions at several universities, as well as serving on the board of trustees for numerous national and statewide organizations. Adams has had the opportunity to provide congressional testimony on several occasions in addition to receiving secretarial appointments to national advisory committees for both the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Veterans Health Administration.

Adams received a doctorate degree in health administration and Masters of Public Health degree from the University of South Carolina, and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Frostburg State University in Maryland.

The award was presented during SCORH’s Board of Directors meeting on January 19, 2022, by Board Chairman Dr. James Bradford.

“This is long overdue and well-deserved,” Bradford said. “We’re very proud of you.”

About the South Carolina Office of Rural Health

The South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH) is a non-profit organization with a mission to close the gap in health status and life expectancy between rural and urban communities in the Palmetto State. SCORH has been promoting investment, opportunity and health within rural communities since 1991.

With 27 percent of our state’s residents living in rural areas, SCORH believes in preserving the unique character of rural communities without compromising their opportunities and access to critical services.