Jeannie Williams was in the bathroom in a Best Western hotel in Boone, N.C., where she and her 11-year-old son, Jeffrey, had checked in for the night. Jeffrey had finished showering and was already in bed. It was Jeannie’s turn to get ready for the night. It was supposed to be a short, overnight trip, and the two weren’t far from their home in Rock Hill.
But something had gone terribly wrong. The mother and her son didn’t know that carbon monoxide — a deadly, odorless, colorless, tasteless gas — was seeping into their room from a pool water heater one floor below.
One of the most important aspects of public health is identifying challenges that people face in accessing our health services, and brainstorming new ways to fill these gaps. This month DHEC is excited to announce that Richland County has become only the second county in the nation to employ a Public Health nurse in a public library system, which will help thousands of customers access health services outside of our clinic walls.
Working with Richland Library, DHEC hired a new Public Health nurse, Catherine Horne, RN, to help library customers across the county access accurate health information and connect to local health services. Catherine is based at the library’s downtown headquarters, but will float to all 11 libraries in Richland County as needed.
By placing a Public Health nurse in the library, DHEC will be better able to provide health education and vaccination services to the general public, particularly to low-income and homeless population groups that can be harder to reach. Catherine will also work with library staff to develop health-related programs and education classes, and will serve as a resource for parents to discuss their children’s health issues during library story times.
Thank you to Billy Wiggins, Melissa Barton, and Suzanne Sanders of our Richland County Health Team for working with Richland Library to make this innovative approach to service delivery a reality.
April is Minority Health Month, which provides us with an opportunity to share some of the great work we’re doing here at DHEC Public Health to reduce health disparities that affect minority populations in South Carolina.
One of our top priorities is reducing health disparities through our obesity prevention efforts. Here in South Carolina, while obesity affects all races, African-American and Hispanic populations are disproportionately affected by obesity. African-Americans in our state have a 51% higher rate of obesity and Hispanics have a 21% higher rate than whites. Similarly, research shows that food deserts – geographic areas where people struggle to access healthy food options – are often found in low-income, rural and minority neighborhoods. Continue reading →
Over the weekend, members of our Pee Dee team provided Tdap vaccines and other helpful resources to the public during Dillon County Day celebrations on Saturday. Above is a photograph of our team with Governor Nikki Haley that was taken during the successful community outreach event.
Special thank you to the following Pee Dee staff members who helped nearly 200 Dillon County residents access free vaccines to protect them from tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough:
An op-ed that ran in newspapers across South Carolina today highlights the success of our recent smoking cessation media campaign. From The State:
In the first two months of 2014, thanks to a Department of Health and Environmental Control media campaign outlining the dangers of smoking, the Quitline took more than 7,700 calls, or almost as many as in all of 2013. That shows what a little promotion can do.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reached out to DHEC to learn how the agency achieved such success. It praised our state for utilizing effective ways to help tobacco users quit.
Our New Year’s Resolution media campaign broke monthly S.C. Tobacco Quitline call volume records for January and February 2014. Thanks to our promotional efforts, more than 7,700 South Carolinians called our Quitline to take the first steps in making 2014 a healthier, tobacco-free year.
Thank you to all of our staff members and community partners who continue to spread the word about this free resource that helps South Carolinians access the support services they need to successfully kick the habit.