James T. McElligott, M.D., MSCR, is the Executive Medical Director for Telehealth at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and an Assistant Professor in the Division of General Pediatrics at MUSC Children’s Hospital. He oversees the Center for Telehealth at MUSC.
Dr. McElligott’s career has been driven by a passion for helping the vulnerable and the conviction that the way to do so is through population-level change. These led him first to an interest in pediatrics, caring for the most vulnerable of patients, and in improving the health of children both in the United States and in developing countries. He then realized something startling about his own state that would fuel his interest in rural outreach: the poverty along the I-95 corridor in South Carolina rivals that in many developing countries. Given the magnitude of the health care disparities in these areas, he came to believe that real progress in this generation could only be made through the radical innovation offered by telehealth. Using videoconferencing and other technology, telehealth brings the care to the patient instead of expecting the patient to come to the care, thereby eliminating many traditional barriers to care. His work in telehealth began as he developed a school-based telehealth program to bring primary pediatric care to underserved children in Williamsburg County, one of South Carolina’s poorest areas. He later assisted in the development of telehealth programs serving both children and adults, and in 2013 accepted the position as Medical Director for Telehealth at MUSC.
Dr. McElligott currently serves as the Chair of the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance Advisory Council, the Secretary of the Pediatric Telehealth Special Interest Group of the American Telemedicine Association, a Board Member of Palmetto Care Connections, and is the Chair of the Trident United Way Health Vision Council in Charleston. In 2014, Dr. McElligott received the Health Care Hero from the Charleston Regional Business Journal for his work with school-based telehealth.
Dr. McElligott received his undergraduate education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his medical degree at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He completed his pediatric residency at MUSC, as well as an academic generalist fellowship, earning a Master of Science in Clinical Research degree.
Shawn Valenta, RRT, MHAis the Administrator of Telehealth at MUSC Health and is responsible for directly supporting and coordinating the strategic initiatives and operations of the Center for Telehealth programs.
Mr. Valenta started his career working 12 years in the field of respiratory therapy and helped MUSC’s respiratory care department receive national recognition by the University Health Consortium (UHC) for significant cost reduction and quality improvement. Mr. Valenta has worked collaboratively in statewide strategic planning and furthering the health of South Carolinians with telehealth technology through the formation of the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance.
Mr. Valenta received a Bachelor of Science degree in Respiratory Therapy at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia, and he earned a Master in Health Administration degree from the Medical University of South Carolina.
Dr. McElligott and Shawn Valenta work collaboratively with Telehealth Medical Directors on program development, operations, management, and optimization.