Diagnostic radiologist educator honored with Governors Order of the Palmetto Award

February 23, 2023
A bearded man holds a plaque. He's surrounded by three women and two other men. They are all smiling.
MUSC’s Dr. Stephen Schabel, third right, is a 2023 recipient of the Order of the Palmetto Award. Schabel, surrounded by his family, was honored for his commitment to teaching and mentoring students. Photo provided

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster presented the Order of the Palmetto to Stephen Schabel, M.D., of the Medical University of South Carolina’s Department of Radiology. This award, which is considered South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, is given to a person who has demonstrated lifetime achievement, service and contributions.

Schabel received the award for his contributions to education and to the state as a member of the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners. Schabel led the medical education program in Radiology and was named a Distinguished University Professor by the MUSC Board of Trustees. He was also named an honorary alumnus in 2013 for his dedication to the University. Schabel was honored and humbled by this distinction. “The University has been a wonderful place to work for all those years. Teaching medical students and residents was always my first love, and over the years, I have been blessed to teach thousands. They are my professional ‘children,’ and I am so proud of them all.”

In addition to these achievements, Schabel, a highly esteemed professor among his students, was a three-time recipient of the Golden Apple Teaching Award from the American Medical Student Association and earned the first Educator Mentor medal. He has been dedicated to the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners, serving as both a member and president, and also tirelessly served the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). 

“All that service came with no dollar income but brought with it invaluable experiences and friendships with leaders in American medicine and medical education that I treasure. I also think I made a positive mark for S.C. at NBME and in the national medical education community with my service. Every faculty member should volunteer in any way they can to serve their profession and the state.”

H. Biemann Othersen Jr, M.D., nominated Schabel for this award for his “long-standing support of and dedication to the function of the South Carolina State Board of Medical Examiners.”

In his nomination letter, Othersen spoke of Schabel in the highest terms. “Doctor Schabel is a superb radiologist and is a Distinguished Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina. He has performed important radiological procedures on thousands of patients, and he has done so with skill and empathy.”

Schabel was thrilled to have been recognized with such an important South Carolina distinction. “It of course is a huge honor! Like no other I know.”

It was said that Schabel committed his entire professional career to MUSC as a diagnostic radiologist and consummate educator. He taught generations of MUSC medical students, and the weekly lectures he conducted were considered to be as entertaining as they were practical. His unique teaching style continues to be remembered by his students, even years after graduation. His warm and compassionate manner has had a lasting impact on students, colleagues and patients alike.

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