Since 1995, the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) has celebrated National Health Education Week (NHEW) during the third week of October. NHEW is focused on increasing national awareness on major public health issues and promoting a better understanding of the role of health education. This year’s theme is “Health Education as a Catalyst for Change.”
“Whether collaborating with community partners to conduct community needs assessments and develop community health improvement plans, educating new parents on the importance of a properly installed child passenger safety seats or working to address and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, our DHEC Health Educators are a critical part of our agency and the work we do,” said Suzanne Sanders, Community Health Services External Systems Manager. “They serve as catalysts for change within their communities every single day.”
About 30 employees serve on this team at DHEC.
Health education specialists offer knowledge, skills and training that complement health care providers, policy makers, educational experts, human resource personnel and many other professionals whose work impacts human health. Health education specialists promote and improve health literacy and equity through research, education and advocacy. Health equity and literacy are important determinants of health status.
“Health educators are key players in promoting DHEC’s mission to improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians by protecting and promoting the health of the public and environment,” Sanders said.
Regional Community Systems directors are planning activities and recognitions throughout the week in their respective regions.
This week is National Midwifery Week and DHEC recognizes the exceptional work that licensed midwives and their apprentices accomplish across South Carolina. This year’s theme is “Midwives for Equity,” and highlights midwives’ belief that every person has a right to equitable, ethical, accessible and quality healthcare.
Licensed midwives provide prenatal care, primary assistance in the birthing process, initial care of the newborn and postpartum care of the mother. The midwifery model of care empowers individuals and communities, creates compassionate partnerships, and personalizes care based upon each individual’s life experiences and knowledge.
DHEC is the licensing and regulatory agency for direct-entry midwives practicing in SC, and we continue to communicate with midwives, their consumers, their supporters, and the Midwifery Advisory Council (MAC) to ensure that the community’s voices are being heard.
ADCs provide – 4-14 hours of daily care, including, recreational activities, arts & crafts, discussion groups, meals and day trips.
ADCs are not the same as long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. An ADC will normally operate during normal business hours, while some may offer evening or weekend hours. Some ADCs specialize and cater to specific populations such as those with developmental disability or those in need of memory care.
DHEC proudly recognizes National Recovery Month in September, and all of those with substance use disorders who are seeking treatment, along with the 14 inpatient and 88 outpatient facilities for chemically dependent or addicted persons (CDAP) in SC. These patients, their loved ones, CDAP facilities, and a myriad of recovery organizations continue to work together to offer the best quality of care.
Stigmas associated with substance use make people afflicted with addictions fearful of coming forward. Our collective mission with CDAP facilities is to remove shame, help those suffering, and to make treatment opportunities as accessible as possible.
September is National Preparedness Month. DHEC recognizes the critical role healthcare facilities play in preparing for natural disasters while still responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2015, South Carolina has seen historic floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes in our state According to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD), SC remains one of the most vulnerable in the nation to be impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms due to our six coastal counties bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
Various Agency Coordinating Centers (ACCs) in our agency have been activated since Governor McMaster first declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19 back on March 13, 2020. These ACCs are staffed with experts and dedicated staff working with a myriad of program areas across DHEC, relevant state agencies, healthcare facilities, healthcare professionals, and the public. More recently, updating emergency evacuation plans has been at the forefront to strategically respond to any future natural disasters.