The 2013 Hastings Center Cunniff-Dixon Physician Awards in the senior physician category honor Charles G. Sasser, M.D., FACP, FAAHPM, director of palliative care services at Conway Medical Center in Conway, S.C.

Under Dr. Sasser’s leadership, Conway established the first interdisciplinary team for palliative care services in South Carolina – a team that included nurses, social workers, pastors, and physicians. A driving force behind Dr. Sasser’s pioneering work to establish an interdisciplinary team approach to palliative care is his belief “that the kind heart of the nurse, the logistical wisdom of the social worker, and the philosophical guidance of the pastor were just as important as the skills of the physician, and sometimes even more so,” said Martin A. Duclos, MD, codirector of Conway’s palliative care team.

The son of a country doctor, Dr. Sasser was practicing internal medicine when palliative care emerged as a new specialty. He soon moved to the forefront of the field. In his 45 years as a physician, he has been a model and mentor to generations of palliative care providers.

Those who have worked with Dr. Sasser describe his influence, skill, and humanity. “He has never failed to recognize each patient he has encountered with the utmost respect, and has treated each life as the unique, incredibly special gift that it is,” said his nominator, Patricia Douglas, Conway Medical Center’s staff chaplain.

Charles Sasser received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1967.