Highlights from this week at DHEC:
Don’t Waste Food
Richard Chesley interviewed with ABC Columbia about our Don’t Waste Food S.C. campaign. Richard pointed out that 38.4 million tons of food are simply thrown away in the United States every year. To put it another way, 40% of all food processed is simply tossed in the circular file.
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
In observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on February 7th, we worked with community-based organizations to offer free HIV testing testing events across South Carolina. More than 12,600 African-Americans in our state are living with HIV/AIDS, and thousands more haven’t been tested. For more information about the fight against AIDS in South Carolina, including local HIV testing sites, call DHEC’s AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437), or visit http://www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv .
Gold Star Honor for Tobacco-Free Efforts
This week DHEC was recognized by the South Carolina Hospital Association’s Working Well initiative and Prevention Partners for achieving the highest standard of tobacco-free excellence.
Jen Wright of Working Well visited DHEC to present Director Catherine Heigel and members of our Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control and Worksite Wellness team the Gold Star award for creating a tobacco-free workplace and providing high-quality tobacco cessation programs for employees..
In order for an organization to receive this recognition, it must have a tobacco-free worksite policy, refer its employees to effective quit programs and counseling, provide comprehensive cessation benefits (nicotine replacement therapy and prescription medications) and offer incentives to encourage employees to quit tobacco. These are among several evidence-based components recommended by Working Well and Prevention Partners for comprehensive quit-tobacco systems at worksites.