Winners of DHEC’s top employee award recognized

Fifteen S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control employees were honored March 23 for embodying the agency’s core values. The Director’s Award, established in 2015, is DHEC’s most prestigious employee award and is presented annually.

This year’s award winners are:

  • Louis Eubank, Certificate of Need program director
  • Jessica Boynton and Matt Slagel, Ocean & Coastal Resource Management
  • Hurricane Matthew GIS Team: Wesley Askew, John Boulware, Seth Church, Elzbieta Covington, Jeannie Eidson, and Emily Watson
  • Agency Rebrand Team from Communications: Mary-Kathryn Craft, Anthony Doyle, Cristi Horne, Joshua Laney, and Sheree Muse
  • Carol Hodges, Marion County nurse site supervisor

Meet the award winners in this video:

The winners were selected from a pool of 45 nominations submitted by colleagues from throughout the agency. The Director’s Award Selection Committee had the difficult task of closely reviewing all of the nominations and choosing the final award winners from the competitive group of nominees.

Read more about the winners and their work here.

Please join the agency in congratulating the winners on their outstanding achievement!

It’s spring: Protect yourself and your family against mosquitoes

After yet another warm winter in South Carolina, spring is upon us — and so is mosquito season.

As you and your family head outside, remember that now is the time to begin taking action to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquitoes — even if mosquitoes are the unofficial state bird!

Mosquitoes can spread diseases

South Carolina is home to at least 61 different species of mosquitoes. Anyone who has lived here for any length of time has faced this itch-causing menace on an almost daily basis during the spring, summer and fall. Most of the time, we are only concerned with the pain from the mosquito’s bite, but we also need to be aware that mosquitoes can spread diseases that may result in illness.

Some mosquitoes in South Carolina have been known to carry West Nile virusEastern Equine Encephalitis, and other viruses or parasites. Since the beginning of 2016, there has been heightened concern over the Zika virus. Fortunately, there have been no confirmed local Zika cases caused by South Carolina mosquitoes. All known cases of Zika in our state, to date, have been travel or sexual contact related.

You can help control the mosquito population

It is critical that we all join forces and do our part to combat the threat of mosquito-borne viruses and parasites. We must be vigilant about controlling the mosquito population in our own yards and communities while protecting ourselves from bites. You can begin by removing, regularly emptying or filling in any objects in your yard or home that might hold water in order to eliminate breeding sites. When searching for mosquito breeding spots on your property, leave no stone unturned.

To help reduce mosquito populations on your property:

  • Clear out weeds, leaves, dirt and other debris from pipes.
  • Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
  • Regularly clean out rain gutters and downspouts.cleaning-gutters
  • Empty and turn over containers that hold water, such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, wheelbarrows, old appliances, tarps used to cover grills or swimming pools, etc. Don’t forget to scrub containers to remove any mosquito eggs that remain attached to the walls (Tip, Toss, Turn and Scrub!).
  • Make sure that all permanent water containers — such as wells, septic tanks, cisterns, water tanks and cesspools — are tightly covered and insect-proof.
  • Change the water in bird baths and empty and clean out children’s wading pools at least once a week.
  • Clean out and change the water in your pet’s water bowl or trough every day.
  • Clean out larger livestock troughs weekly.
  • Cover trash containers and garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating.
  • Drain or get rid of old tires by recycling them.

When outside, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts (the lighter in color, the better). You may also choose to apply a mosquito repellent — either a spray or wipe — per manufacturer instructions to help shield you. Avoid wearing perfume or scented products. Also, keep car windows rolled up and garage doors closed at night. Ensure all of your windows and doors have intact screens and seal properly.

Learn more

Visit DHEC’s mosquito information page for additional information about protecting yourself from mosquito bites, eliminating breeding areas, local mosquito control and more.

World TB Day: “Unite to End” Tuberculosis

DHEC joins local, state, national and global efforts to control and eliminate tuberculosis by observing World Tuberculosis Day on today, March 24, 2017. This annual event commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB).

The purpose is to work together and celebrate the efforts of people all over the world that have found new ways to stop tuberculosis.

South Carolina TB rates below national average

Through increased awareness, prevention efforts, public health interventions, improved methods for early diagnosis, and assuring completion of treatment the number of TB cases in South Carolina has consistently remained below the national average for the six-year period covering 2011-2016.

TBDayTable

TB is preventable, treatable, and curable

Tuberculosis is a disease of the lungs, but it can affect other parts of the body. Persons with TB of the lungs can spread TB to other people by coughing, sneezing or speaking. Untreated active tuberculosis is a serious public health threat.

TB is treatable and preventable.  You can play an important role in eliminating tuberculosis in our community by understanding the signs and symptoms and helping to educate others.

The general signs and symptoms of TB disease include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. The signs and symptoms of TB disease of the lungs also include coughing, chest pain, and the coughing up of blood. The signs and symptoms of TB disease in other parts of the body depend on the area affected.

People with TB disease are most likely to spread the germs to people they spend time with every day, such as family members or coworkers. If you have been around someone who has TB disease, you should go see your family doctor, or call the public health department and ask to speak to a TB nurse.

World TB Day efforts

DHEC TB Control is focusing on three groups to commemorate World TB Day: the community, community partners, and public health professionals. The following activities are scheduled for World TB Day:

  • Community – The TB Control webpages have been updated with information regarding tuberculosis education, resources and activities in the community. For more information on TB and other public health issues, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SCDHEC.
  • Community Partners – The second component of the initiative is partnering with various public health agencies representing HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, psycho-social issues, substance abuse and other illnesses to distribute information to the clients they serve. There are 31 external and three internal partners participating.
  • Public Health Professionals – Dr. Eric Brenner will give a public lecture titled, Tuberculosis: Local, National, and Global Public Health Perspectives from Noon to 1 p.m. in Room 331 of the Discovery Building, located at 915 Greene St. on the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus. The lecture will focus on TB from the complementary perspectives of biology and medicine, epidemiology, biostatistics, health services and policy, health promotion and education, environmental health, exercise science, and national and global public health.

​DHEC wins 2 awards for notable documents

Congratulations to our Environmental Quality Control team, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity, and Creative Services for winning two South Carolina State Library Notable State Documents Awards.

Team DHEC was acknowledged for its work on two documents: Indoor Mold After a Severe Weather Event and South Carolina Healthy Comprehensive Planning Project.

S.C. Notable Documents Award

Left to right: Teresa Hill, Kelly Kavanaugh, Cristi Horne, Fran Marshall, Rhonda Thompson and Lawra Boyce.

The indoor mold document is an online topical document on indoor mold after the 2015 severe flooding and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. It is an easy-to-read guide on the potential health risks of exposure to indoor mold on certain populations, such as children younger than 12 or people with a weakened immune system.

Kudos to Fran Marshall, Lawra Boyce and Rhonda Thompson for accepting the award and to Cristi Horne, the designer.

The S.C. Healthy Comprehensive Planning Project supports county comprehensive plans that promote healthy eating and active living benefits through community planning statewide.

Kudos to Teresa Hill, Kelly Kavanaugh, and Lori Phillips for accepting the award and to Josh Laney, the designer.

The South Carolina State Library’s Notable State Documents List Award is given out annually. It is meant to call attention to the most informative documents released by state agencies each year.

DHEC is proud to be one of several agencies recognized not once but twice.

Happy Social Workers Month

March is Social Work Month, and we want to thank all social workers for what they do. We especially celebrate the dedicated social workers at DHEC who work so hard to make a difference in public health across the state.

Social workers stand up for millions of people each day. They stand up by comforting people who are experiencing devastating illnesses and mental health crises, ensuring they get the best care while on the road to recovery. They work in communities and with national, state and local government to provide services to stand with and help the most vulnerable.

Social workers are trained to look at situations in a holistic way.

Did you know that we have social workers in DHEC programs across the state, including Children with Special Health Care Needs, Tuberculosis Control, STD/HIV Prevention, Community teams, Children’s Health and Public Health Preparedness? Did you also know that while these social workers are located in specific programs, they are also available to assist our staff and clients, regardless of program or clinic?

Join us at DHEC in celebrating our 24 licensed social workers who stand up every day for the citizens of our state.

Upstate                                          Midlands                                          

Mary Haywood, LMSW             Linda O’Neill, LMSW

Rhonda Hipp, LMSW                Caroline Carman, LISW-CP/AP

Linda Markovich, LMSW         Brenda Johnson, LMSW

Lenora Talley, LMSW                Jourdan Coulter, LMSW

Joanne Hobbick, LMSW

Pee Dee                                        Lowcountry                                     

Suzanne Seay, LMSW                Kacey Schmitt, LISW-CP

Mary Golden, LMSW                  George Bush, LMSW

Rose Laney, LISW-CP                Yvette Jeffries, LMSW

Ethel “Tina” Turner, LMSW     Lori Vaughn, LISW-CP

   Kerry Whetsell, LMSW

   Sophia Armstrong, LMSW

  Central Office

Lucy Gibson, LMSW

Lee Kirkpatrick, LMSW

Charmella Tyler, LMSW

Douglas Outlaw, LMSW

Vernita Wingate, LMSW

Make sure to visit this album to meet some of DHEC’s social workers. We appreciate all they do to uphold  the agency’s core values of embracing service, pursuing excellence and promoting teamwork!

2017 SW Month Proclamation.jpg