Category Archives: Employee Recognition

DHEC Employees Win Big at the 2019 Palmetto Gold Nurse Awards and Gala: 12 Employees Honored

In its 18th year, the Palmetto Gold Nurse Awards Gala recognizes exemplary Registered Nurses throughout South Carolina who are constantly raising the bar in healthcare.  Through a nomination and selection process, 100 nurses are chosen each year and honored at the Gala.  To date, over 1400 nurses have been honored with this award.  This year, DHEC is proud to have 12 of our own recognized.

The gala was held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.  Join us as we congratulate our 2019 Palmetto Gold Recipients!

DHEC Helps S.C. Parents Brush Up on Good Oral Health Habits for Kids

Division of Oral Health Receives Over $500,000 in Federal Funding ​

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and DHEC is helping parents brush up on the importance of their child’s oral hygiene and the positive habits that lead to healthy smiles. As part of this effort, DHEC’s Division of Oral Health received $570,000 in federal funding from the CDC to support the oral health of South Carolina’s youngest children.​

“We’re trying to expand the recognition of oral health as an essential part of total health and well-being from the earliest age,” said Dr. Ray Lala, director of the Division of Oral Health at DHEC. “We want receiving a toothbrush at a DHEC regional office or from a pediatrician to be a common experience. Prevention is key, and we can all be messengers.”

The Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement Expansion Grant funding helps expand the public’s access to preventive oral health information through their local health departments and medical and dental settings.

In addition to the Division of Oral Health’s ongoing efforts to expand federal funding opportunities, the division is also proud to recognize its leader, Dr. Lala. 

_MG_8774 Lala Sept 2013.jpgDr. Lala has spent his professional career in Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Maryland. He is an alumnus of the University of New Orleans and the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry. Upon completion of dental school, he entered private practice and maintains an active dental license from the State of Louisiana.​

After 15 years of private dental practice, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, assigned to the Indian Health Service in 1993. He was selected for a federal detail as the South Carolina State Oral Health Coordinator in 2000. Upon completion of this detail in 2004, Dr. Lala was reassigned to the Health Resources and Services Administration in Rockville, Md. Upon retirement from the Indian Health Service and the Public Health Service in 2014, Dr. Lala assumed his current position as Director of the Division of Oral Health at DHEC.

Dr. Lala’s and his team’s commitment to increasing access to preventive oral health information in South Carolina aligns with our agency’s core value of Embracing Service and strategy of Education and Engagement.

For more information about you can help prevent tooth decay, click here to read our recent news release.

Remembering Our Colleague Margaret Douglas

Our colleague and dear friend, Ms. Margaret Douglas, director of constituent services, passed on Feb. 22 following an extended illness.Margaret

Margaret was part of the DHEC family for 47 years and will truly be missed. Those who knew her well, knew what a gentle and caring soul she was, always offering a kind word and adding light and love to the agency over the years.

Margaret began her DHEC career in 1970 working in Health Services. During her time with the agency she served in various roles, including staff assistant, secretary, stenographer, administrative specialist, and administrative coordinator.

In her most recent role as director of constituent services, she responded directly to the questions and concerns of hundreds of South Carolinians each week. In spite of health challenges, Margaret remained committed to her work, her team, the agency, and to the people of South Carolina.

Over the past weeks, many current and former DHEC staffers visited Margaret and her family in a beautiful display of love and support—proving that the bonds formed through daily work often knit us together in deep and abiding friendship.

Margaret was an extraordinary person and this is truly a great loss to our DHEC family and to our community as a whole. She will be profoundly missed.

Services were held Monday, Feb. 26 at First Calvary Baptist Church in Leesville. Please keep her family in your thoughts.

Rebecca Morrison Named DHEC’s New Director of Nursing

Rebecca Morrison has been selected as the new DHEC Director of Nursing

Rebecca has been a Registered Nurse for 22 years and a Nurse Practitioner for 18 years. Since 2005, she has served as the DHEC Immunization Nurse Consultant and has also served as a consultant on preparedness issues.  

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing – all from the University of South Carolina.  Rebecca is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa and she is a National Health Service Corps Scholar.

Rebecca will be starting in her new role on Dec. 17. Congratulations, Rebecca.

CLIA Program highlighted during Medical Laboratory Professionals Week

This week is Medical Laboratory Professionals Week and we at DHEC want to highlight our Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) Program. 

CLIA was created in 1988 to establish quality standards for all laboratory testing. It is through CLIA that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is responsible for overseeing all the laboratory testing performed on humans in the U.S., except for clinical trials and research.

Some responsibilities of our CLIA team include surveying, certifying and recertifying laboratories for participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs based on federal and safety standards. Our CLIA survey team ensures that laboratory facilities performing tests on human specimens obtain proper CLIA certification and comply with CLIA regulations. The team also makes recommendations to CMS regarding survey findings and investigates complaint allegations of CLIA violations.

MedLabProfessionals Photo

CLIA team members (left to right): Mary Jo Roue, Lakeisha Wright, Ashley Gibbs, Kiawania Reed and Amelyn Olson.

“DHEC’s role with CLIA entitles quality standards for laboratories to ensure the accuracy, reliability, and timeliness of the patient’s results,” said Kiawania Reed, Bureau of Certification. “I make a difference by promoting teamwork, serving the community, and assuring achievable standards of quality and professionalism in our pursuit of healthy people living in healthy communities.”

Our CLIA Program must meet CMS performance expectations annually. CMS conducts a review every year to assess  DHEC’s ability to meet specific performance standards and to evaluate our performance of CLIA surveys and certification activities. Our CLIA team has met 100 percent of all performance standards for the past two consecutive federal fiscal years.

Many thanks to the members of our CLIA team for their hard work!