Tag Archives: Stronger Together

DHEC and S.C. Hospital Association Partner to Help Patients Stay Safe During Disasters

In the face of natural disasters such as Hurricane Dorian that threatened to strike South Carolina last year, DHEC and entities such as the S.C. Hospital Association (SCHA) communicate with each other, patients, and the public about their respective storm efforts to better serve patients and their loved ones.

“The partnership between DHEC and hospitals in the state of South Carolina is vitally important,” said Justin KierDHEC’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator with Bureau of Healthcare Planning and Construction. “Folks saw that through the messaging that was done through our online resources and our media resources, but also they saw that in their communities as well.”

More than 220 DHEC staff were activated around-the-clock leading up to, during, and after this storm event in 2019.

During the response to Hurricane Dorian, DHEC staff helped coordinate the safe evacuation and re-entry of more than 7,000 patients from 175 regulated health care facilities impacted by the Governor’s mandatory medical evacuation order, including

  • 13 hospitals,
  • 25 nursing homes, and
  • 92 assisted living facilities

“We help bring DHEC together with hospitals to make sure that hospitals are aware and understand their requirements to evacuate patients and get them to safer areas,” said Melanie MatneySCHA System Chief Operating Officer.

 This coordination is an example of the agency demonstrating leadership and collaboration with entities such as the SCHA. In addition, DHEC employees embrace service every day.

This commitment is further highlighted during emergency events such as a hurricane, in which hundreds of DHEC staff work together with our partners to directly assist in preparing for and responding to the storm while others volunteer and/or take on extra duties to ensure that our day-to-day operations remained intact.

Learn more about DHEC’s response efforts to Hurricane Dorian.

DHEC Partners with LiveWell Greenville to Help Create Healthier Communities

DHEC collaborates with Trident United Way to embrace service, leadership and collaboration with Stronger Together Campaign

In our next installment of the DHEC Stronger Together video campaign, we take a look at our partnership with LiveWell Greenville. Stronger Together is a video series of testimonials from statewide partners of DHEC. In these inspirational testimonials, we intend to share stories to raise awareness about DHEC’s work in the community and illustrate our strategic plan. In addition, these spotlights will show out core values – Embracing Service, Inspiring Innovation, Promoting Teamwork and Pursing Excellence – in action.

We kicked off the campaign with our partnership with the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. We then met with Trident United Way in North Charleston. Now we head to the Upstate with LiveWell Greenville.

LiveWell Greenville is a network of more than 100 community organizations that work together to ensure access to healthy eating and active living. DHEC has been a member of this coalition since its inception.

In 2008, Piedmont Health Care Foundation, a non-profit foundation in partnership with the Health and Wellness Taskforce of Greenville Forward, commissioned a youth obesity study and employed Furman University’s Department of Health and Exercise Science to serve as the research base.

“The results of the study were informative,” said Lillie Hall, DHEC Upstate Public Health Region Community Systems Director and founding member of the original coalition. “The study found about 41 percent of the roughly 1,600 Greenville County School students measured were overweight or obese.”

So, the Foundation convened a coalition to develop policy, systems and environmental approaches to address childhood obesity in the county. Originally called the Childhood Obesity or CHO Taskforce, the group included: Piedmont Health Care Foundation, DHEC, Greenville Forward’s Health and Wellness Taskforce, Furman University, PRISMA Health (formerly Greenville Health System), local physicians and pediatricians, and the YMCA of Greenville. In 2011, the name became known as LiveWell Greenville.

Since then, LiveWell Greenville has improved the overall health and wellness in schools, communities, faith organizations and worksites. Jervelle Fort, DHEC Community Health Educator, is on LiveWell Greenville’s “At Worship” and “At Work” subcommittees.

As part of her role on the subcommittees, Fort provides support through the region’s community work plan to create and maintain a community that supports HEAL (healthy eating and active living) strategies and promotes PSE (policy, systems and environmental) change. She also supports the promotion of school and community gardens, updating and maintaining access to DHEC’s fruit and veggie outlet inventory, assisting community partners to implement HEAL and PSE strategies like developing breastfeeding promotion policies in local churches, coordinating resources for creating physical activity resources and creating healthier environments at worksites.

Executive Director of LiveWell Greenville Sally Wills said that partnering with DHEC allows the coalition to have a greater impact, and Fort agrees.

“Partnerships like this help to make the community and state stronger because it groups us together and makes us whole,” Fort said. “It makes us one.”

DHEC embraces service with the LiveWell Coalition and allows us to be part of “healthy people living in healthy communities.” Partnerships like these showcase the agency strategy of leadership and collaboration.

For previous Stronger Together videos

Promoting Teamwork to Improve Health Outcomes in the Lowcountry

DHEC collaborates with Trident United Way to embrace service, leadership and collaboration with Stronger Together Campaign

DHEC relies on strong partnerships to realize our vision of “healthy people living in healthy communities.” Our Stronger Together video series campaign highlights strategic partnerships throughout the Palmetto State. In these inspirational testimonials, we intend to share stories to raise awareness about DHEC’s work in the community and illustrate our strategic plan. In addition, these spotlights will show out core values – Embracing Service, Inspiring Innovation, Promoting Teamwork and Pursing Excellence – in action.

We kicked off the campaign with our partnership with the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. Our second highlighted partner is Trident United Way in North Charleston. DHEC sat down with Kellye McKenzie, Director of Health and Amanda Lawrence, Vice President of Community Impact to learn about the ways we work together.

“From planning and prep to providing staff, DHEC has been a partner in the Tri-County Health Needs Assessment,” said Kellye McKenzie, Director of Health for Trident United Way. “The aim is to improve health outcomes and the well-being of every person in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, which aligns perfectly with DHEC’s vision.”

DHEC also currently holds a seat on the Healthy Tri-County Executive Committee.

In the first quarter of 2019, DHEC and Trident United Way worked together to lead the efforts and completion of the community health needs assessment.

“The network consists of 60 organizations that advocate, educate, and support the Tri-County Health Improvement Plan,” said Felicia Veasey, DHEC Community Systems Director for the Lowcountry Region.

In this testimony, Cinti Mwangu, DHEC Health Educator in the Lowcountry, touches on the importance of sharing resources to ensure no community or area is left behind in our collective focus on the health and well-being of South Carolina’s residents. Amanda Lawrence, Vice President of Community Impact for Trident United Way, also mentions collective resources and praised the talented DHEC staff.

The Tri-County Health Needs Assessment underscores our agency’s core value of Embracing Service and strategy of Leadership and Collaboration.

To learn more, watch the video, and stay tuned for our next featured partner, LiveWell Greenville!

DHEC Launches New Campaign Showcasing How We Are “Stronger Together”

DHEC relies on strong partnerships to realize our vision of “healthy people living in healthy communities.”

We have launched “Stronger Together,” a video series, to highlight our strategic partnerships with stakeholders throughout the Palmetto State. This campaign helps demonstrate why we as agencies, organizations, South Carolinians and state are better when we work together.

This campaign is also a continuation of our agency’s recent “We Are DHEC” series by leveraging inspirational video testimonials and stories to raise awareness about DHEC’s work in the community and illustrate our strategic plan. In addition, these spotlights will show our core values – Embracing Service, Inspiring Innovation, Promoting Teamwork and Pursing Excellence – in action.

DHEC is proud to recognize our employees and partners who help us encourage habits that lead to healthy people living in healthy communities. We truly are “Stronger Together.”

Pursuing Excellence to Enhance Food Safety at South Carolina Restaurants

To kick-start the campaign, we are spotlighting our teamwork with the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (SCRLA).

In 2013, DHEC started working with SCRLA on revising our Retail Food Establishments Regulations, to enhance food safety at restaurants across the state. It had been 20 years since the last update, so significant changes had to be made to bring South Carolina up to the most current food safety science.

Since then, we have partnered with the team at SCRLA every year to host informational meetings on regulation changes and food safety topics.

Sandra Craig, DHEC Director of the Division of Food and Lead Risk Assessments, enjoys talking with members of the food service industry and working with SCRLA to further promote the message of food safety in a manner that people will listen.

Douglas OFlahertyVice President of Operations for SCRLA, emphasized the importance of the partnership between SCRLA and DHEC, which allows the improvement of regulations and outlets to ensure food safety.

“It doesn’t matter how much you pay, all food should be safe,” OFlaherty said.

Our collective work to keep South Carolina’s retail food industry engaged in the regulatory process embodies DHEC’s core value of Promoting Teamwork and strategy of Education and Engagement.