Monthly Archives: September 2015

Pee Dee Region’s Breastfeeding Peer Counselors Reach the Gold

By Mary-Kathryn Craft

S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Women Infants and Children (WIC) Breastfeeding Peer Counselors in the Pee Dee Region recently received national recognition for their exceptional work. The team, led by WIC Program Manager Sadhana Tolani and Breastfeeding Coordinator Jenna Deaver, was awarded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Loving Support of Excellence Gold Award.

The honor recognizes local WIC agencies that provide exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support activities. The Pee Dee program was one of six selected in the Southeast.

WIC Program Manager Sadhana Tolani and Breastfeeding Coordinator Jenna Deaver

WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator Jenna Deaver and Program Manager Sadhana Tolani

“Our ultimate goal is to empower women by giving them the support they need to overcome the physical, emotional and social stigma barriers to breastfeeding their infants,” Deaver said. “This award reinforces the importance of our daily efforts and inspires our team to continue delivering excellent service to new mothers at a time when they most need that one-on-one support.”

Breastfeeding is important because it improves health by protecting moms and babies from a variety of diseases. It is also an effective way to fight childhood obesity. That’s why promoting and encouraging breastfeeding is a key focus in WIC.

The Pee Dee Region’s WIC program was specifically recognized for its partnerships with area hospitals. The program has agreements with more than 10 hospitals throughout the region enabling peer counselors to visit postpartum moms at bedsides to offer breastfeeding information and assistance. The counselors then provide follow-up support in home visits and at clinics.

WIC breastfeeding peer counselors are mothers who have successfully breastfed at least one baby and serve as mentors to new mothers who want to nurse. Tolani said the award was a great morale boost to staff and is the result of the hard work the WIC team has put in since the Loving Support breastfeeding peer counselor program began a decade ago.

Pee Dee Region Breastfeeding Peer Counselors (Left to Right): Shalandra Douglas, Connie Palmer, Jeanetta Dean, Corey Johnson, Tremelia Gore, Priscilla Moyd-McFadden and Renee’ Walker-Andrews

Pee Dee Region Breastfeeding Peer Counselors (Left to Right): Shalandra Douglas, Connie Palmer, Jeanetta Dean, Corey Johnson, Tremelia Gore, Priscilla Moyd-McFadden and Renee’ Walker-Andrews

Congratulations to this dedicated group of DHEC employees in the Pee Dee!

September is Healthy Aging Month

By Michele James, Division of Healthy Aging Director

September is Healthy Aging Month, an annual national observance focused on the positive aspects of growing older and taking personal responsibility for one’s health – physically, socially, mentally and financially.  There is no getting around the fact that as we age our bodies and mind change, however, there’s a lot you can do to improve your health and longevity and reduce your risk for physical and mental disability as you get older.

Americans are living longer and better than ever before thanks to major medical and public health advances and greater access to health care. Life expectancy at birth in the United States has reached a record high of 78.8 years and many Americans are living up to their 80’s and beyond.

In South Carolina, from 2000 to 2010 the older adult population grew by 32.1%, putting the state in the top ten fastest growing older adult populations.  By 2029, it is expected that our state’s population of older adults will exceed 1.1 million, resulting in one of five South Carolinians being over the age of 65.

No matter what your age, making changes and improvements can have a positive effect on how well you age.

Healthy behaviors such as exercising regularly, good nutrition, and getting recommended health screenings can contribute to longer, healthier lives, even if someone has a chronic condition or a disability.  The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, Division of Healthy Aging in collaboration with the Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging   promote two exercise programs and one chronic disease self-management program:

For more information on these programs, click here. 

Leukemia & Lymphoma Awareness Month

By Stephanie Hinton, CPM, MHS, MA – DHEC Cancer Prevention and Control Division Director

Every 3 minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer. In South Carolina alone, more than 700 people were diagnosed with some form of leukemia and nearly 1,000 were diagnosed with lymphoma in 2012 according to the SC Central Cancer Registry.

September is leukemia and lymphoma awareness month – get to know these cancers and how you can join the fight against them.

Leukemia & Lymphoma by the Numbers
This year, approximately 54,270 Americans will be diagnosed with leukemia and 80,900 with Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Who gets it?
Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, but both blood cancers occur most often in older adults between the ages of 75-84. Leukemia and lymphoma are slightly more common in men.

What are the symptoms and risk factors?
Common symptoms of leukemia and lymphoma include: fever and chills, persistent fatigue, weight loss without trying, swollen lymph nodes, easy bruising or bleeding, frequent nosebleeds, and bone pain or tenderness.

Risk factors include age, previous cancer treatment, genetic disorders, exposure to certain chemicals, smoking, and family history of the cancer.  These symptoms and risk factors do not always equate to cancer but should be discussed with your physician if you have concerns.  Find more symptoms and risk factors for leukemia here and lymphoma here.

Can I prevent it?
Although there is no definitive way to prevent leukemia or lymphoma, you can certainly lower your risk.  Healthy decisions like maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, not smoking, and exercising routinely will lower your risk of these blood cancers.  Visit the American Cancer Society’s Stay Healthy website for more tips and resources on staying healthy.

How can I help?
Join and support Be The Match Registry!  Be The Match is a global leader in bone marrow transplantation that helps patients find their life-saving marrow donors and provides support throughout the transplant process.  Learn more and join Be The Match here.

What is text4baby?

By Betsy Crick













If you’re pregnant or have a baby under one year, you can sign up to receive free text messages on prenatal, infant care, and more.

Sign up now – text BABY (BEBE in Espanol) to 511411.

You’ll receive three text messages each week, timed to your due date or your baby’s first birthday.  Messages begin during your pregnancy and go through your baby’s first year.  You’ll get information on prenatal and infant care, immunization, developmental milestones, nutrition, oral health, quitting smoking, safety, and more.  There is also a free Text4baby app available on the App Store and on Google Play that provides additional information about baby’s development, pregnancy, childcare tips, and more.

If you have service with one of the below major cell phone carriers, text4baby text messages are free:


Looking for information on medicines and pregnancy?  The FDA Office of Women’s Health has free materials and videos to help you make good choices about the medicines and other products that are safe for you and your baby.

For more information about the free text4baby service offered through Zero to Three, please visit the text4baby website.