Dr. Thaddeus John Bell

Dr. Thaddeus J. Bell is a practicing Family Practice Physician in Charleston, South Carolina. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Medicine and the Founder of Closing the Gap in Health Care, Inc. (CGHC), a non-profit organization created to decrease health disparities by providing health education for African Americans and other under-served populations.

Closing the Gap in Health Care radio health tips as well as the website  has received  National Awards from the National Health Foundation as one the best programs of its kind in the Country in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Dr. Bell is a 2013 recipient  of the National Medical Association Distinguished  Service Award, Toronto, Canada

On November 11, 2013 will be inducted into the Richland One Hall of Fame for contributions made to Richland One, his community, profession, and society as a whole by the Richland One  Board of School Commissioners.

Dr. Bell writes a weekly newsletter that is received by 1500 readers online primarily in North and South Carolina. The newsletter is read by the lay public as well as physicians. He speaks at his Church (Olive Branch AME Church) each Sunday AM that he is in town giving a short health tip to the congregation. He has been a frequent speaker to state wide AME Church conferences at the request of the Bishop of the AME Church. He is the recipient of the prestigious Richard Allen Award given by Allen University in 2005 for outstanding contributions in medicine.   

Through CGHC, Dr. Bell presents radio health tips that are aired in the Tricounty area, other parts of the Low Country and in the Columbia, SC radio markets (most recently television health tips are also being aired). He also does a monthly radio show with Gary Posik (WGCV 95) in Columbia, SC (for the past five years). The health information provided through the radio health tips and the CGHC website reaches over 300,000 people each week. The television program reaches about 12,000 people per day in the Charleston area.  In May 2005, Closing the Gap in Health Care was the recipient of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Service Award for Outstanding Contributions in Public Health.

Dr. Bell is the co- founder of the award-winning Closing the Gap in Health Fitness Festival for Children and Youth, an annual event that promotes life fitness for youth in the Charleston area. The program was the recipient of the Governor’s Award for outstanding contributions to the community.

Dr. Bell was the Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness under 3 different governor’s during which time fitness and health was elevated to a new level in South Carolina.(Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was the Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness).    

Also in 2007, Dr. Bell was a Physician Finalist for Health Care Heroes through the Charleston Regional Business Journal and in 2008.  He received the Wanamaker Award given by the Charleston County Medical Society. In April of 2012,  Dr. Bell received the James Clyburn Health Literacy Award in Public Health Communication and Community Service. CTCIHC has received numerous award from sororities and fraternities for outstanding contributions to the African American Communities in Public Health (Health Literacy).  March 2013, Dr. Bell received the Humanitarian Award from the city of Summerville, South Carolina.

Recently, Closing the Gap in Health Care, Inc. received a major two year grant from the Medical University of South Carolina to collaborate at looking at the effectiveness of radio health tips in the Tricounty area.      

Dr. Bell is currently in private practice in family medicine Charleston, SC. He retired from MUSC in 2010 after serving as Director of University Diversity and Associate Dean for Diversity in the College of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, and a Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at MUSC. While serving as director of the office of diversity Dr. Bell authored and help initiate diversity plans to increase the number of African American programs in all six colleges at MUSC.

Dr Bell was invited to be the second only African American to be an Assistant Dean of Minority Students at MUSC by Dr. Layton McCurdy, the Dean of the College of Medicine and Vice President of Clinical Affairs at MUSC. At the recommendation of Dr. McCurdy, Dr. Bell was recommended to Dr. Jim Edwards, President of the University at that time, to serve as interim director of the Office of Minority Affairs .  After three months Dr. Bell was name the director of the office, which he promptly change the name to the Office of Diversity.  He was elevated to Associate Dean of Minority Affairs in the College of Medicine and was the author of many programs to improve the recruitment, retention and graduation of minority students at MUSC.  He was a member of the admission committee as well as the progress committee for College of Medicine. While he was Associate Dean of Medicine and Director of the Office of Diversity, the university experienced a significant improvement in the number of African Americans in all 6 colleges at MUSC.      

He is the founder of the annual very prestigious Earl B Higgins Diversity Award given in honor of Dr. Earl Higgins to the person at MUSC who has done the most for promoting diversity. The award continues to be given at MUSC. He was also the founder of the Earl B. Higgins Scholarship given to minority students in need of financial support in all six colleges at MUSC. He was the founder of the HBCU Collaboration Program with MUSC to help increase the number of African American students from HBCU colleges and universities in South Carolina into MUSC (College of Medicine).            

He was named Physician of the Year in 1996 by the South Carolina Academy of Family Physicians (the first African American Physician given this honor) . He was name to the South Carolina Bell South Calendar for Outstanding African Americans, the first South Carolina State College calendar for outstanding graduates and in1992 was recognized as an outstanding graduate from MUSC.  In 1993 Dr. Bell was  selected  as  outstanding graduate of South Carolina State College for contributions made to medicine, track and field and  the military.

Dr. Bell received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Charleston Southern University  in 2003 for outstanding service to the university and the community.   

Dr. Bell was a Major in the US Air Force Reserve from 1983 to 1993. He is a graduate of the US School of Aero Space Medicine and was a Flight Surgeon in the Air Force Reserve. He served in Operation Desert Storm after which he retired.  

 In April 2007, Dr. Bell was honored by Select Health Insurance Inc. with an endowed scholarship named in his honor at the Coastal Community Foundation of Charleston, South Carolina. The scholarship will provide support for African American students attending MUSC in all six colleges. Dr. Bell started the annual Low Country Jazz Festival which is in its fifth year and has been recognized as one of the best Jazz Festival in the Southeast. The festival is sponsor by Closing the Gap In Health Care INC for the purpose of rising funds to support the radio and television programs as well as the endowed scholarship at the community foundation. We have reached our goal of $250,000.

The  Thaddeus J. Bell Scholarship has been endowed for $ 250,000   for African Americans students at MUSC in all colleges in good standing with their prospective college). He is a frequent lecture on health disparities for MUSC, local radio and television. Heeh has been featured in several newspaper articles in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina.  He is a frequent speaker at the annual the Greenville Health Disparity Conference and recently wrote an Op Ed on Obesity in the African American Community that appeared  in the Greenville Newspaper.  He is the recipient of the Golden Pen Award from the Post and Courier for a letter he wrote to the editor regarding the Apology of the American Association to African American Physicians for 100 years of Discrimination in 2008.          

Dr. Bell is a well-respected lecturer on health disparities and is a frequently requested speaker throughout the South for both physicians and public groups. His Barbershop and Beauty Shop  talks have been well received throughout South and North Carolina. The talks have been credited with saving the lives of many African American Men and Women. These lectures are given through Churches, civics and social groups. They are free to the public. Dr. Bell is currently the Chairman of the Health Initiative Committee of the Sixth District of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and has been recognized locally and regionally for outstanding contributions to the health literacy of African American Men in Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He is the 2011 recipient of the Citizen of the Year award given by the Mighty Sixth District of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.   

Dr.  Bell was inducted into the Columbia Housing Authority Wall of Fame in 1989 as an outstanding physician who was raised in the projects (Allen Benedict Court) of Columbia ,South Carolina.    

In 1980 Dr. Bell found the Cross Family Health Center in Cross, SC, which was a free clinic for the underserved people in Cross, South Carolina which is now a federal health center for the underserved population and is a major part of the Franklin C. Health Clinic Network in Charleston, South Carolina. He worked at that center for 10 years as the only physician in the rural community of Cross, South Carolina.

He has expertise in fitness and health and often lectures on these subjects as well. Dr. Bell is a former World-Class sprinter in Master Track and Field. He won the title of World Champion in 1987 and 1989 in the 100m sprint. He has also been a two-time World Medical Games Champion in the 100m and 400m dashes. He has been on two master world champion sprint relay teams (1996 and 2001) at the Masters World Games.  He has been a gold medal winner at the Penn Relays and has been guest physician at the relays. He has been invited to participate in famous Modesto Relays where he won the 100 and 200m dash for Masters Athletes (1988). Dr.  Bell holds  all of the South Carolina Records in the sprint events (100m and 200m dash) in Master Track and Field for South Carolina.

He has been a guest physician at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. He has been a physician for USA Track Field for a world championship. He was a physician for the Olympic Festival for USA Track and Field  in St. Louis,  Missouri in the early 1990s.

The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina selected Dr. Bell as one of the best athletes of the 20th Century   in track and field for the State of South Carolina.

Dr. Bell is a life member of the Alumina Association of the Medical University of South Carolina, Life Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Life Member of the South Carolina State College Alumina Association, a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the National Medical Association, the Charleston County Medical Association (currently Co Chairman of the Health Disparity Committee) . In February of 2012 the Charleston County Medical Association gave a $1500 scholarship to an African American student in the College of Medicine at MUSC in honor of Dr. Thaddeus John Bell.    

Dr. Bell is a graduate of CA Johnson High School (1962) Columbia, South Carolina, South Carolina State University (BS} 1966, Clark Atlanta University 1970 (Masters in Science Education) Medical University of South Carolina (1976) MD, School of Aero Space Medicine (Flight Surgeon)1983 and is currently  a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Medicine.      

Dr. Bell is the father of 3 children Thaddeus J. Bell, II (deceased), Tiffany Bell, and Tonisha Bell-Alston.  He is the proud grandfather of a granddaughter, Julia Alston,  grandsons,  Kaidyn Snipe and  Edmond James Alston.