Monthly Archives: September 2014

Scaling Down

By Jamie Shuster

scaledown-logoIf you’ve been following the news this week, you know it’s been an exciting week for the agency. On Wednesday, DHEC Director Catherine Templeton joined the SC Obesity Council in launching our state’s first-ever obesity action plan. The new plan details both long- and short-term strategies that can be immediately implemented to begin reducing the rate of obesity here in the Palmetto State.

During the launch event at the State Farmers Market, we also introduced South Carolinians to – a new, collaborative initiative designed to engage and mobilize stakeholders across the state in implementing the strategies laid out in the new action plan.

Wednesday’s event was not only a chance to celebrate the release of the new action plan, it also marked the official transition from talking about what we’re going to do to address South Carolina’s obesity problem over the last two years to taking coordinated action to help our state begin to scale down. Continue reading

Leading the Way: SC Text4Baby Challenge

By Jamie Shuster

text4baby-imageThanks to the hard work of our regional Public Health staff, I’m pleased to announce that South Carolina has moved into first place nationally among medium-sized states for enrollments in Text4Baby.

Earlier this summer, our four regional Public Health teams launched a twelve-week challenge to enroll our clients in this free cell phone text messaging service for pregnant women and new parents. Moms and dads can sign up by texting “BABY” to 511411. They then receive text messages three times a week with tips on how to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. The messages are timed to the pregnant woman’s due date or the baby’s date of birth.

Our public health teams across the state have been hard at work to help our clients sign up for this innovative health education service since the challenge kicked off on August 1. So far, our Midlands team is leading the overall challenge, but our Lowcountry team is moving up quickly, earning the most signups for the last two weeks in a row. Following close behind are our Upstate and Pee Dee teams.

Thank you to all of our Public Health team members who are helping connect new parents to this free health education service, and congratulations on moving our state to the top spot among our peers.

Are you prepared?

By Cassandra Harris

Hurricane, Blackout, or Disaster Supplies

If a natural disaster or medical emergency struck today, would you be ready? September is National Preparedness Month, an annual campaign focused on encouraging Americans to take the time to prepare for emergencies of all types.

A key component of being prepared is having a plan. Emergencies can happen unexpectedly, and have the potential to impact you, your loved ones and your community. By taking the time to prepare now, you will be better able to deal with an emergency when it happens.

There are a number of free resources online that can help you create a simple emergency plan for you and your family. Visit or for free plans and ways to protect the ones you love.

Immunizations and You

Vaccination protection influenza


By Stephen Hudson

We all know that children and other vulnerable groups need vaccines, but what about everyone else? While certain people are at greater risk for serious complications from diseases like the flu, anyone, including healthy adults, can benefit from receiving recommended immunizations- such as the annual flu shot and Tdap.

Most adults from ages 19 to 49 fail to get immunized because they “don’t like needles”, say they are “too busy to make an appointment”, or think they “never get sick and don’t need to be immunized”. Unfortunately, these excuses come at a cost. Everyone needs to stay current on their immunizations, even healthy people. Every year, thousands of healthy American adults get sick, or are hospitalized because they did not get vaccinated, causing millions of hours of missed work and school days.

Vaccination is important because it not only protects the person receiving the vaccine, but also helps prevent the spread of certain diseases to those who are most vulnerable to serious complications, such as infants and young children, elderly, and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems.

Talk with your health care professional to learn which vaccines are right for you based on your age, health, job, lifestyle, and other factors. By taking these steps you can stay up-to-date to make sure you have the best protection from serious disease. The CDC has information posted on its website about vaccinations for healthy adults.