Monthly Archives: April 2014

Recognizing our Lab Team

By Jamie Shuster

It’s National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, which provides us with an opportunity to highlight the great work our lab team does to support our public health efforts here in South Carolina.

Our 70 Bureau of Laboratories (BOL) team members help protect the health of all South Carolinians by identifying infectious and communicable diseases like HIV, TB, flu, and food poisoning outbreaks. The lab team also performs vital screenings to detect metabolic disorders in newborns and lead poisoning in children.

BOL also is one of just a few nationally designated Level I Chemical Terrorism Labs and, next week, will also achieve Tier I Bio-Terrorism Lab status. With this new designation, South Carolina will be one of only six states in the nation tapped to assist others states in the event of a bio-terror attack.

Below is just a snapshot of the hard work our lab team performs each year: Continue reading

What’s all the HYPE about?

By Jennifer Read

Curbing obesity among adolescents is essential to improving long-term health outcomes. Here at DHEC Public Health, we’ve partnered with Eat Smart, Move More SC and the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health to create the HYPE program, which helps young people learn how to make healthier food and lifestyle choices. Continue reading

Saving lives with CPR

By Jamie Shuster

Each year, almost 360,000 people suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the United States. Research shows that hands-only CPR can triple survival rates during these sudden cardiac arrest events.

Earlier this month, an individual in one of our Midland’s area offices passed out suddenly. One of our Public Health registered nurses, Latasha Lee, quickly assessed the person and realized the individual had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. Latasha immediately called for help while her fellow Public Health registered nurse, Charice Jones, began performing CPR on the individual. EMS soon arrived and transported the individual to a local hospital. Continue reading

Connecting South Carolinians to Care

By Jamie Shuster

Connecting South Carolina families to health and wellness services is one of our core commitments as the state’s health department. To facilitate these connections, DHEC Public Health operates a toll-free hotline service called the Care Line (1-800-868-0404) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Our Care Line is managed by Tracey McCloud and her dedicated team of five staff members who field calls from the public in English and Spanish. These trained staff members help callers learn how to access important services like WIC, family planning, immunizations, and Medicaid. They also provide referrals to breast and cervical cancer screenings, well child checkups, and can help callers find rides to medical appointments. From time to time, our Care Line team is also called upon to work extended hours to help field questions from the public during disease outbreak investigations. Continue reading

Reducing health disparities

by Jamie Shuster

April is Minority Health Month, which provides us with an opportunity to share some of the great work we’re doing here at DHEC Public Health to reduce health disparities that affect minority populations in South Carolina.

One of our top priorities is reducing health disparities through our obesity prevention efforts. Here in South Carolina, while obesity affects all races, African-American and Hispanic populations are disproportionately affected by obesity. African-Americans in our state have a 51% higher rate of obesity and Hispanics have a 21% higher rate than whites. Similarly, research shows that food deserts – geographic areas where people struggle to access healthy food options – are often found in low-income, rural and minority neighborhoods. Continue reading