SC Senate confirms new health department board chair

Seema Shrivastava-Patel has been confirmed to serve as the next chair of the South Carolina...
Seema Shrivastava-Patel has been confirmed to serve as the next chair of the South Carolina Board of Health and Environmental Control. She will become the first woman of color to serve in the role.(South Carolina Government)
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 11:20 AM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2023 at 11:26 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster released a statement Thursday on the confirmation of the woman he nominated to become the new chair for the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The governor nominated Seema Shrivastava-Patel in March to lead the DHEC Board. Shrivastava-Patel has served as a board member since 2018 and as vice chair since 2021.

“From helping lead the agency through the pandemic to the search for a new director, Seema Shrivastava-Patel’s contributions to the DHEC board over the last six years have been crucial,” McMaster said. “Her experience, combined with her proven leadership ability, will greatly benefit the agency and the people of South Carolina.”

The Board oversees the operations of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The at-large seat on the Board was left vacant when former Chair Robert Bolchoz resigned from the position in December.

“This honor to serve as chairwoman would not be possible without the support of my family, and the confidence placed in me by Governor McMaster and the South Carolina Senate to lead the board,” Shrivastava-Patel said. “I know firsthand how critical the work of DHEC is to the current and future health of the public and the environment, and I am proud to continue to serve alongside our state’s leading subject matter experts as we work together to provide a healthier future for every South Carolinian.”

“Seema is a highly respected board member and has become an expert on DHEC during her more than five-year board tenure,” DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer said. “In addition to her extensive agency knowledge, Seema is an outstanding leader who has great business acumen. This along with her 20-year career in the convenience and food service industry, make her a perfect choice to propel the agency forward. I look forward to our continued work together to advance DHEC’s mission to improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians.”

A native of Columbia, Shrivastava-Patel is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and human resources with a specialization in international business. She resides in Lexington with her husband and two children.

“I feel incredibly humbled by this moment in DHEC’s history, and I applaud the women who worked at DHEC — like my mother — who paved this road for me,” she said. “In my new role as chairwoman, I am committed to leading by the strong example they have laid as I work with members of the agency’s board, staff and leaders across the state to ensure access to quality health and environmental services.”

She is a first-generation American of Indian heritage. Shrivastava-Patel becomes the first woman of color to serve as DHEC Board chair.