Category Archives: Client Services

DHEC in the News: Safe sleep, WIC mobile unit, Great Falls whitewater site

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

DHEC provides tips on preventing SIDS and safer infant sleep

COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) – The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is warning parents about sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, and providing tips that can make a difference. In South Carolina, six infants die each month from unsafe sleep, DHEC said in a media release. Babies are at risk of sleep-related deaths until they are a year old.

Here are some tips for safer sleep, per DHEC:

  1. ALONE– Babies should sleep alone in their own safe sleep space such as a crib or bassinet with a firm, flat mattress. For the first year of life, baby should have a separate safe sleep space in the parent’s room.
  2. BACK– Always put your baby to sleep on his or her back, both for naps and at night. Placing babies on their backs to sleep is one of the most important ways to prevent SIDS.
  3. CRIB– Make sure that the crib or bassinet you’re using is safety approved by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and that the crib is bare. Remove all pillows, blankets soft toys, or bumpers.

SC DHEC debuts new mobile unit to help Upstate women & children

ANDERSON (AP/FOX Carolina) – A new mobile unit from SC DHEC is helping women make sure their children are getting the nutrients they need.

The van is for the department’s WIC program. WIC stands for woman, infant and children. It gives moms access to the proper nutrients for their children. Women have to qualify to become part of the program. To find out if you qualify, click here.

Duke Energy designs whitewater recreation site in Great Falls

GREAT FALLS, SC (WBTV) – Duke Energy is in the preliminary design phase of a recreational whitewater project. A spokesperson with Duke Energy says they have never done a project like this before.

According to Duke Energy and the Great Falls Hometown Association, the energy giant will construct two whitewater channels along the Catawba River near Fishing Creek Dam. The project will also include three kayaking and canoeing put-ins along a stretch of the Catawba River between the Fishing Creek Dam and just south of the Great Falls Dam.

DHEC’s Billy Wiggins Chosen for National Nursing Program

Billy Wiggins of the DHEC Client Services team will soon embark on a journey to grow as a nurse and leader.

Billy, who is a Registered Nurse, is one of 20 people chosen for the prestigious the Amy V. Cockcroft Nursing Leadership Development Program from across the nation.

“It’s a very exciting time here at DHEC to have someone as ambitious as Billy participating in a nationally-recognized nursing leadership program,” said Nick Davidson, director of Client Services. “Billy’s role in working with the regions and programs to evaluate and improve internal systems issues uniquely positions him to benefit greatly from this program.”

The program provides nursing leaders with the skills needed to actively shape health care and the profession of nursing.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity and am certain I will acquire skills and knowledge I’ll use throughout the rest of my career,” Billy said.

This progressive leadership program will advance Billy’s ability to lead and navigate while also educating him on how to work effectively with interdisciplinary teams.

“I’m looking forward to learning skills to help guide my decision making processes and enhancing my communication and leadership skills to serve both myself and DHEC.”

It’s no easy task to complete the program. The year-long program includes five intensive, three-day sessions spread out throughout the year. Each participant must also plan and complete an interdisciplinary project.

“The skills that I attain from the program will become a part of my everyday functionality,” Billy added. “I want us in public health to have an opportunity to challenge ourselves and see what we can do to continue to improve our customer service, externally and internally.”

The program will begin in March. Good luck to Billy, and many thanks to him for continuing to uphold DHEC’s core value of pursuing excellence.

Fresh Fruits and Veggies This Summer

By Mary-Kathryn Craft

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It’s that time of year when fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful throughout the Palmetto State.

Eating fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet can reduce your risk for diseases such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Check out this map from the S.C. Department of Agriculture to find fresh S.C.-grown produce near you.

Starting this month, DHEC’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program will provide checks that can be used to purchase fresh, S.C.-grown produce at local farmers markets. Find authorized markets accepting WIC checks near you with this map.

If you’re looking for easy and creative ideas for preparing fruits and vegetables, look no further than your local farmers market. Nutrition education specialists and dietetic interns from DHEC’s Office of Professional and Community Nutrition are offering free cooking demonstrations throughout the state this summer.

The next demonstration is scheduled for June 13 at the Kershaw County Farmers Market at 222 Broad St. in Camden.

To see which fruits and vegetables are in season, find tips on choosing the right piece of produce and get recipes, check out this guide.

DHEC Celebrates Lab Week

By Jamie Shuster

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Medical Laboratory Professionals Week is celebrated the third week of April each year by laboratory professionals around the country.  The primary focus is to bring attention to and highlight the importance of the work being done by laboratorians daily.

This national celebration gives us the opportunity to highlight the successes of DHEC’s Bureau of Laboratories (BOL), which provides diagnostic and reference laboratory services to DHEC clinics, hospitals, universities, and private providers. The BOL consists of two diagnostic divisions: the Chemistry and Microbiology Divisions.

Some of the team’s many recent accomplishments include:

  • A new condition, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), was added to the testing panel of Newborn Screening
  • Our Newborn Screening Laboratories operate six days a week, including Saturdays and holidays
  • Our laboratory is now certified and approved to test for Ebola, Malaria, and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Each year, our lab team performs the following impressive number of tests and screenings, keeping South Carolinians healthy and safe:

  • 100,000 tests in support of maternal and child health programs
  • 150,000 tests for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted diseases
  • 5,000 tests for rabies
  • Testing for more than 90 percent of tuberculosis patients in South Carolina
  • Screenings to test all South Carolina newborns for metabolic disorders

The Bureau of Laboratories recently hosted a cookout and celebration and in honor of the team’s hard work and many accomplishments. Thank you to our entire BOL team for your continued commitment to helping keep South Carolinians healthy and safe.

Promoting Breastfeeding in South Carolina

By Jamie Shuster

breastfeedingIt’s World Breastfeeding Week, which provides us with an opportunity to highlight the great work our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program is doing to encourage more South Carolina women to breastfeed their babies.

Promoting breastfeeding is one of our priority focuses at DHEC Public Health. Increasing the number of women who choose to breastfeed is an effective, evidence-based strategy to fight childhood obesity. And we know that getting a good start is critical to helping moms successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding. Our WIC breastfeeding peer counseling program helps moms get off to a strong start by connecting new moms to education and support at the hospital before mom and baby are discharged. Continue reading