Board of Directors
Each Board Director is appointed by the Governor of South Carolina. The Board is comprised of the following members in each of the categories.
Category A. Two medical doctors from MUSC
M. Noreen Herring, MD – First term (3/8/2014-3/7/2018)
*recommendation submitted to Governor for Second full term (3/8/2018-3/7/2022)
Dr. Noreen Herring is a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and an Assistant Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina in the Department of Neurosciences.
Abhay K. Varma, MD – First term (3/8/2015-3/7/2019)
Mt. Pleasant, SC
Dr. Varma is an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the Medical University of South Carolina with special interest in management of brain and spine tumors, spine surgery, neurotrauma and peripheral nerve disorders. Dr. Varma has been involved in clinical and laboratory research on spinal cord injury in close collaboration with basic neuroscientists. He is a member of North American Spine Society, a premier professional society of spine specialists.
Category B. Two medical doctors at large specializing or significantly engaged in the treatment of people with a spinal cord injury
Heather W. Walker, MD – First (3/8/2017-3/7/2021)
Mount Pleasant, SC
Dr. Heather Walker is the Program Director of Neuroscience Services at the HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Charleston, SC. Additionally, she serves as voluntary faculty in the Division of Neurosurgery at the Medical University of South and is the medical student clerkship director for the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation elective rotation. She was previously a member of the PM&R faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2007-2014, and during her appointment at UNC she served as the Medical Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program as well as the PM&R Residency Program Director. She is board certified in the specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as the subspecialties Spinal Cord Injury Medicine and Brain Injury Medicine. She was named to the “Best Doctors in America” list in 2013-2016. She has been involved in research and publications focusing on spasticity management, and enjoys incorporating spasticity management into her outpatient clinic practice.
Kevin W. Kopera, MD, MPH – First term (3/8/2013-3/7/2017) - CHAIR
*recommendation submitted to Governor for Second full term (3/8/2017-3/7/2021)
Medical Director of Roger C Peace Rehabilitation Hospital of the Greenville Health System, overseeing a CARF accredited Spinal Cord Injury Program. He is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation completing his residency training at University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kopera earned a Masters Degree in Public Health at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He serves as Medical Director for Employee Health and Wellness for the Greenville Health System's greater than twelve thousand employees. Additional interests include ongoing research projects in Driving Rehabilitation in collaboration with Clemson University. Dr. Kopera is the Ombudsman for University of South Carolina Greenville School of Medicine and is an International Medical Classifier for Paralympic Cycling.
Category C. Two SC citizens who have a spinal cord injury or a family member with a spinal cord injury
Victoria L. Turgeon, PhD - First term (3/8/2018-3/7/2022)
After receiving her PhD in 1998 in Neurobiology & Anatomy from Wake Forest University, Dr. Victoria Turgeon secured a position on the faculty at Furman University in the Biology Department and as a member of the interdisciplinary Neuroscience Major. Since that time, she has advanced to the position of Full Professor and has served two terms as the Director of the Neuroscience Major. Most recently, she was appointed Director of the Master of Science in Community Engaged Medicine. Prior to entering graduate school, her boyfriend and now husband sustained a C6/C7 spinal cord injury in a car accident. Learning more about his condition and available treatments propelled her into this research area which she continues to pursue with her undergraduate students. Continuing to work with undergraduates provides unique opportunities to expand knowledge to treat primary and secondary conditions associated with spinal cord injuries, increase public awareness of the barriers faced by those with mobility challenges, and inspire the next generation of researchers.
Sherron M. Jackson, MD - First term (3/8/2015-3/7/2019)
Dr. Sherron McQueen Jackson is a native of Augusta, Georgia. She developed an interest in medicine at an early age. She graduated from Mercer University with a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry and received her M.D. degree from Medical College of Georgia in 1981. Dr. Jackson completed her internship and residency in Pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
For more than 25 years her professional career has focused on diagnosis and treatment of Sickle Cell disease in children and her practice has grown to include more than five hundred children in the Charleston area. As an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Dr. Jackson participates in clinical research studies along with other medical centers around the country. Dr. Jackson’s additional roles as a physician include being the director of the Pediatric Sickle Cell Clinic and teaching medical students as the co-director of the Pediatric Clerkship at MUSC. Her professional medical memberships include American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Charleston Medical Society. She is also a member of the national honor fraternity, Alpha Omega Alpha.
Dr. Jackson’s son, Alex Jackson, sustained a C5-6 SCI at the age of 9 months in a car accident caused by a drunk driver.
Category D. One at large medical doctor who is a member of the SC Medical Association
Stephen E. Rawe, MD – First term (3/8/2016-3/7/2020)
Dr. Stephen Rawe graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed his residency at Yale – New Haven Medical Center, and earned a PhD in neuroanatomy from MUSC, where he served as an associate professor. Dr. Rawe is board certified in neurosurgery and was the first neurosurgeon in the Charleston area to perform pedicle screw instrumentation, kyphoplasty and artificial cervical disc surgery. He continues to be involved in innovative spinal fusion techniques and has extensive experience with the interspinous process distraction for spinal stenosis. Dr. Rawe is a founding member of the South Carolina Spine Society and served as its first president.
The Board of Directors holds in-person meetings, usually 2-3 per year, to address the organization of the SCIRF as well as directional goals. Meeting dates and locations are listed below. The Board of Directors is responsible for reviewing and voting on all grants awarded as well as budgets for Administrative and Research Core functions.
November 2, 2018 - USC in Columbia
March 30, 2018 - MUSC in Charleston
November 3, 2017 - Patewood in Greenville
April 21, 2017 - MUSC in Charleston
December 9, 2016 - MUSC in Charleston.
April 8, 2016 - Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital in Greenville
November 13, 2015 - USC School of Medicine in Columbia
April 17, 2015 - Roper St. Francis Hospital in North Charleston
October 17, 2014 - Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital in Greenville
May 2, 2014 – Healthsouth Rehabilitation in Columbia
See Annual Reports for additional information and previous Board meeting dates.