Tag Archives: South Carolina

​DHEC wins 2 awards for notable documents

Congratulations to our Environmental Quality Control team, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity & Obesity, and Creative Services for winning two South Carolina State Library Notable State Documents Awards.

Team DHEC was acknowledged for its work on two documents: Indoor Mold After a Severe Weather Event and South Carolina Healthy Comprehensive Planning Project.

S.C. Notable Documents Award

Left to right: Teresa Hill, Kelly Kavanaugh, Cristi Horne, Fran Marshall, Rhonda Thompson and Lawra Boyce.

The indoor mold document is an online topical document on indoor mold after the 2015 severe flooding and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. It is an easy-to-read guide on the potential health risks of exposure to indoor mold on certain populations, such as children younger than 12 or people with a weakened immune system.

Kudos to Fran Marshall, Lawra Boyce and Rhonda Thompson for accepting the award and to Cristi Horne, the designer.

The S.C. Healthy Comprehensive Planning Project supports county comprehensive plans that promote healthy eating and active living benefits through community planning statewide.

Kudos to Teresa Hill, Kelly Kavanaugh, and Lori Phillips for accepting the award and to Josh Laney, the designer.

The South Carolina State Library’s Notable State Documents List Award is given out annually. It is meant to call attention to the most informative documents released by state agencies each year.

DHEC is proud to be one of several agencies recognized not once but twice.

Happy Social Workers Month

March is Social Work Month, and we want to thank all social workers for what they do. We especially celebrate the dedicated social workers at DHEC who work so hard to make a difference in public health across the state.

Social workers stand up for millions of people each day. They stand up by comforting people who are experiencing devastating illnesses and mental health crises, ensuring they get the best care while on the road to recovery. They work in communities and with national, state and local government to provide services to stand with and help the most vulnerable.

Social workers are trained to look at situations in a holistic way.

Did you know that we have social workers in DHEC programs across the state, including Children with Special Health Care Needs, Tuberculosis Control, STD/HIV Prevention, Community teams, Children’s Health and Public Health Preparedness? Did you also know that while these social workers are located in specific programs, they are also available to assist our staff and clients, regardless of program or clinic?

Join us at DHEC in celebrating our 24 licensed social workers who stand up every day for the citizens of our state.

Upstate                                          Midlands                                          

Mary Haywood, LMSW             Linda O’Neill, LMSW

Rhonda Hipp, LMSW                Caroline Carman, LISW-CP/AP

Linda Markovich, LMSW         Brenda Johnson, LMSW

Lenora Talley, LMSW                Jourdan Coulter, LMSW

Joanne Hobbick, LMSW

Pee Dee                                        Lowcountry                                     

Suzanne Seay, LMSW                Kacey Schmitt, LISW-CP

Mary Golden, LMSW                  George Bush, LMSW

Rose Laney, LISW-CP                Yvette Jeffries, LMSW

Ethel “Tina” Turner, LMSW     Lori Vaughn, LISW-CP

   Kerry Whetsell, LMSW

   Sophia Armstrong, LMSW

  Central Office

Lucy Gibson, LMSW

Lee Kirkpatrick, LMSW

Charmella Tyler, LMSW

Douglas Outlaw, LMSW

Vernita Wingate, LMSW

Make sure to visit this album to meet some of DHEC’s social workers. We appreciate all they do to uphold  the agency’s core values of embracing service, pursuing excellence and promoting teamwork!

2017 SW Month Proclamation.jpg

National Kidney Month

It’s National Kidney Month. So, be kind to your kidneys.

The kidneys are hard-working organs that are vital to our health. While each is only about the size of a computer mouse, the kidneys filter all the blood in your body every 30 minutes in order to remove waste, toxins and excess fluids. They also help control blood pressure, stimulate production of red blood cells and keep your bones healthy.

You can protect your kidneys by controlling your blood pressure, staying physically active and losing weight, among other things. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more kidney-friendly tips and related information.

Those most at risk should get tested

It’s particularly important for those who have risk factors for kidney disease to ask their doctor about testing them to learn their kidney health. Each kidney is made up of millions of tiny filters that can become damaged over time by diabetes, high blood pressure or other causes, and stop working, a condition called chronic kidney disease.

The CDC notes that approximately 15 percent of US adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease, which, in its early stages, has no signs or symptoms. The CDC recommends getting tested if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or high cholesterol, or are age 50 or older. You also should get tested if you are from a family with a history of chronic kidney disease.

Early detection and treatment for kidney disease can help prevent additional health problems.

Let’s commit to improving South Carolinians’ heart health

By Lilian Peake, MD
Director, Health Services

Cardiovascular disease is a leading killer of South Carolinians and many of these deaths are avoidable. Communities, employers, health professionals and families can all play a role in preventing this disease.

This is particularly important in South Carolina: In 2015, there were more than 50,000 hospitalizations for heart disease, at a cost of more than $3.2 billion.

South Carolina’s heart disease death rate is above the national average and higher than our neighbors, North Carolina and Georgia. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s State Health Facts, in 2014 the heart disease death rate in the United States was 167 per 100,000 people. In South Carolina the death rate is 8 percent higher than the US rate and 14 percent higher than in North Carolina (181.1, compared to 158.7).

dr-lilian-peake-dhec

Dr. Lilian Peake

There are also disparities among groups affected. For example, the rate among African-Americans outpaces all others. The Palmetto State also has high rates of the conditions that lead to this disease, such as obesity and diabetes.

Much work has been done in an effort to turn the tide. We at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) consider our role key to helping achieve the level of improvement needed. Our vision is “Healthy people living in healthy communities.”

DHEC works with numerous community partners to improve cardiovascular health for all.

We assist in implementing CDC-recognized diabetes prevention programs and train lifestyle coaches.

DHEC also offers a heart disease and stroke prevention program called WISEWOMAN. This is offered at no cost to eligible women ages 40 to 64. Women are screened for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity; they obtain medical follow-up and referrals for abnormal screening results as well as referrals to free or low-cost community programs, such as workout classes, diabetes education, and free sessions with a personal health coach.

DHEC partners with the SC Institute of Medicine and Public Health to facilitate the implementation of the state’s Obesity Action Plan through the SCaledown initiative.

We work with communities to encourage policies, systems and environmental changes that lead to improved access to healthy foods and active lifestyles. One example is the Farm to Institution program where we partner with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education. We educate the public, partner with health systems, and design wellness programs statewide.

DHEC also funds the Quitline to help South Carolinians quit smoking.

Other organizations, including the South Carolina Hospital Association, the South Carolina Chapter of the American Heart Association, A Million Hearts, the South Carolina Medical Association, the Heart2Heart Foundation and more are also doing admirable work in an effort to address this important health issue.

But there is much more work to do. We need your help. You too play an important role in improving heart health in South Carolina. And what better time to get started than this month — American Heart Month?

So what are some things you can do?

  • Commit to a healthy lifestyle — exercise daily, eat healthier and take medication as prescribed.
  • Stop Call 800-Quit-NOW for free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges to eligible South Carolinians.
  • Become a WISEWOMAN participant if eligible; call 800-227-2345 to see if you qualify.
  • Have your blood pressure checked.
  • Create physical activities such as walking or group exercise at work.

Obviously, there are many more actions we can take as employers, health care providers or families. With the right level of commitment, we can improve heart health in South Carolina. Will you help?

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.