The Lowcountry Jazz Festival and the Charleston Gaillard Center on Wednesday announced that festival founder Dr. Thaddeus J. Bell will receive The Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor awarded by the Governor of South Carolina.

“Dr. Bell’s lifetime of service to his neighbors and fellow South Carolinians is something we can all celebrate, and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to recognize him with the state’s highest civilian honor,” said Governor Henry McMaster.

The Order of the Palmetto recognizes lifetime achievement and service by South Carolina residents and those born in the state. A prominent physician in the state, Dr. Bell is also the founder of Closing the Gap in Health Care, Inc., a nonprofit organization created to decrease health disparities by providing health education for under-resourced communities in Charleston. Dr. Bell has founded numerous other programs and initiatives to promote diversity and accessibility in healthcare and the medical field, most notably with the Medical University of South Carolina.

“On behalf of my very supportive family and a few supportive friends I would like to say thank you to the Governor and his committee for recognizing me and the work that I have been doing,” said Dr. Bell. “Thank you to Representative Joe Jefferson for recommending me for this prestigious citation. Finally thank you to the ‘Supreme Physician’ for allowing me to witness this evening. Thank you.”

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