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About DHEC

Strategic Plan 2005-2010 (PDF Print version)

A DHEC home health nurse visits with a patient on his front porch.Dedication

Every day more than 4,700 people contribute to a better South Carolina by ensuring our water is safe, our children are immunized, our environment is protected, and our diseases are contained. We dedicate this five-year plan and its outcomes to the efforts of our committed, loyal DHEC employees.

Message from the Commissioner

The 2005-2010 Strategic Plan builds upon the foundation of the 2000-2005 Strategic Plan. It sets a course for all DHEC staff, in partnership with others, to achieve our vision of healthy people living in healthy communities. It defines our goals and objectives and allows us to monitor our progress as we continually improve our services and activities. The mission, vision and values set forth in this plan provide direction and focus for all parts of the agency as we work to improve the health and the environment of South Carolina. It is our road map for success.

We have more than 4,700 dedicated employees working throughout the state each day to complete special tasks, deliver services, form partnerships and serve the people of South Carolina. What each of us does every day helps accomplish our collective mission and is vital to improving individual and community health and protecting the environment. For these reasons, the Executive Management Team decided to add "Our Employees," who are our most important resource, to the list of DHEC values.

Many dedicated staff members throughout DHEC have worked hard to develop this five-year plan. I want to thank each of them for their commitment and vision and for doing what it takes every day to make a difference in the lives of South Carolina citizens.

About SC DHEC

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control touches the life of every South Carolinian every day. From making sure that drinking water is clean, to assuring immunizations are provided to the most vulnerable populations, the approximately 4,700 full-time employees and about 700 hourly/temporary employees provide services through state, regional and county offices.

The S.C. General Assembly created DHEC in 1973 when it reunited the State Board of Health (created in 1878) and the Pollution Control Authority. DHEC's mission is to promote and protect the health of the public and the environment. The agency is under the supervision of the Board of Health and Environmental Control, which has seven members, one from each congressional district and one at large. The governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints members.

Besides our offices in Columbia, DHEC operates health and environmental regional offices as well as local public health departments and clinics to ensure that the many programs and services we provide will meet the needs of local areas. Our services fall under four general areas: Health Services, Health Regulations, Environmental Quality Control, and Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

Health Services includes activities to prevent chronic and infectious diseases; promote healthy mothers, babies and families; improve and assure environmental health in areas such as restaurant sanitation, septic tanks and mosquito control; perform laboratory analyses for infectious diseases and newborn screening; encourage the reduction of health disparities; and support seniors with in-home health care needs.

Health Regulations oversees the development of a State Health Plan to address the need for medical facilities and services; licenses, certifies and inspects health care facilities; regulates, licenses and inspects sources of electronically produced radiation (X-rays); and oversees entities that provide emergency medical services in the state.

Environmental Quality Control enforces federal and state environmental laws and regulations; issues permits, licenses and certifications for activities that might affect the environment; responds to complaints on environmental activities; inspects permitted entities; responds to environmental emergencies; and conducts environmental education and outreach activities.

Ocean and Coastal Resource Management enforces the S.C. Coastal Zone Management Act to protect coastal resources and promote responsible development through permitting and certification programs and by working closely with local governments and citizen groups in the eight coastal counties.

Mission - We promote and protect the health of the public and the environment.

Our mission is an enduring and comprehensive statement of our purpose. It reflects who we are and why we exist. We are striving toward this mission in a time of change in health services arenas and amid rapid growth and changing demographics within our state. We are becoming more aware of the pressures that environmental, physical and social factors place on the public's health. We are facing unprecedented growth that impacts the viability of our environment and the quality of our air, land and water. We are also experiencing greater ethnic diversity and an expanding population of retirees. Such changes compel us to reassess the strategies by which we can most effectively achieve our mission and vision.

Vision - Healthy people living in healthy communities

A shared vision guides DHEC to educate South Carolina citizens and involve them in public health and environmental issues. Our efforts frequently inspire local communities to develop individual and community health improvement strategies. Fortunately, people are broadening their perspective on health to include not only absence of disease and access to quality medical care, but also the importance of living in healthy and environmentally sound communities. Through regulatory activities, awareness campaigns and community development, DHEC helps community organizations focus on health, including prevention and wellness activities. We also promote environmentally sound practices that protect our precious ecosystems and environmental and coastal resources. Active citizens are catalysts for changes in the health status of their communities. DHEC's challenge is to find ways to link our vision and values to the values of people in local communities. When our values complement their values, we will have healthy people living in healthy communities.

Values

Our values are guiding principles that describe how we conduct ourselves in carrying out our mission. Over the past five years we have implemented policies, training and services that reflect these values, and we will continue to do so in the future. Just as our goals provide direction for the future, our values provide the context within which we move toward our goals. The DHEC values include:

  • Customer Service - We are committed to meeting or exceeding customers' identified needs and expectations with quality service.
  • Teamwork - We are committed to working together to make decisions and reach common goals.
  • Cultural Competence - We are committed to cultural competence by recognizing, respecting, understanding, accepting and valuing different cultures in order to provide effective services to all our customers.
  • Use of Applied Scientific Knowledge for Decision Making - We are committed to the use of rational methods and scientific knowledge to provide answers and to guide our professional judgment.
  • Local Solutions to Local Problems - We are committed to cooperation and collaboration within our agency and with local resources to develop healthy communities that are active in improving their own health and environment.
  • Excellence in Government - We are committed to building an organization that is quality-focused, customer-driven and fiscally responsible.
  • Our Employees - We are committed to supporting our staff who are our most important resource and critical to the accomplishment of our agency's mission.

Executive Summary

The 2005-2010 Strategic Plan builds upon DHEC's mission and values. It sets the agency's direction for the next five years by defining our goals and objectives. The Strategic Plan also articulates our long-term vision for South Carolina's future, healthy people living in healthy communities. DHEC's mission statement, we promote and protect the health of the public and the environment, reflects who we are and why we exist. First presented in our 1995 Strategic Plan, the agency's values are guiding principles that describe how we conduct ourselves in carrying out our mission. We have added "Our Employees," our most important resource, to the list of agency values. As the state's public health and environmental protection agency, DHEC's goals reflect our role in carrying out the three core functions of public health: assessment, policy development and assurance. Our five-year objectives are based on determinants of health, such as access to care, individual healthy behaviors and good environmental quality. These and other factors are known to enhance good health for all.

Many DHEC objectives are benchmarked to national standards. For instance, the Healthy People (HP) 2010 Objectives set 10-year targets for health improvement based on the latest health-related research and scientific evidence. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Core Performance Measures set benchmarks for environmental protection efforts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has developed national coastal management performance measures or indicators. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sets standards for nursing facility service delivery.

In the following sections, we present long-term goals, strategic goals and objectives that establish DHEC's direction. The five long-term goals provide the overall direction for our future. The strategic goals are those we hope to meet or impact within five years. Objectives are the benefits or changes in health status and the environment to be achieved by the strategic goals. Long-term (three to five years) and short-term (one to two years) objectives provide specific, measurable targets.

This plan provides us with a single strategic direction that will promote coordination and communication among all the agency's programs and services. It also serves as a statement of our five-year priorities to stakeholders.

The goals and objectives outlined in the strategic plan will be incorporated into unit operational plans. The measurement plan will mark our progress, and a scorecard will be monitored and shared in future updates and reports.

Goal 1 - Increase support to and involvement by communities in developing healthy and environmentally sound communities

A group of children and DHEC staff conducts an environmental project.The health of every community in South Carolina determines the overall health of our state. Health is influenced not only by biology, genetics and individual behaviors, but also by the social and physical environment in which individuals live, work and play.

Many local entities, organizations and interests share responsibility for a community's health. These include health service delivery organizations, public health agencies, other public and private groups and residents. Governmental public health agencies like DHEC support local efforts to improve health through partnership and collaboration and by enforcing regulations and laws that protect public safety. DHEC performs these roles by actively partnering with and engaging community groups and providing communities with information on health and other related issues.

The strategic goals and outcomes discussed below address the roles DHEC plays in supporting and protecting community health. These roles include working with communities to help identify assets and needs, building staff skills to work with communities, and helping communities develop and use assets that promote health and protect the environment. DHEC also plays a leadership role in ensuring the state is well prepared for natural and man-made disasters or terrorist events. DHEC ensures food and water are safe, reduces the potential for vector-borne diseases, and enables staff and communities to better respond to local emergencies. We also educate the public on environmental issues that affect health, work with communities on planning issues, and help communities establish buffer areas and green spaces.

In order for South Carolinians to maintain and improve the quality of life in our state, we must encourage stewardship and personal responsibility for a clean, healthy environment. Understanding pollution and its causes is critical for this stewardship to develop. Citizens can drive their cars less to reduce air pollution, manage their pet waste and yard chemical applications to protect our water resources, and recycle and reduce waste in order to conserve energy and natural resources. DHEC provides education and outreach programs for all ages and encourages public participation in efforts to protect our environment.

Recent studies have shown that South Carolina is growing rapidly. While we welcome economic prosperity, poorly planned growth can often negatively impact our environment. Planning for growth involves more than making plans and enforcing regulations. It requires a commitment from local communities to work together with each other, with state agencies such as DHEC, with developers, and with all of their citizens to plan the best ways to grow and enjoy a healthy economy while protecting the environment and the health of the public.

  • Strategic Goal 1-A: Increase support to develop healthy communities.
    • Objective 1-A-1: Assist communities in developing community-based health improvement plans.
    • Objective 1-A-2: Build the capacity of DHEC and community staff at the local level to retrieve, analyze and present data.
    • Objective 1-A-3: Improve partnerships with other state agencies to better impact the public's health and the environment.
    • Objective 1-A-4: Support the development and funding of a statewide trauma system.
  • Strategic Goal 1-B: Protect the public against food-, water- and vector-borne diseases.
    • Objective 1-B-1: Map the location of septic tanks and wells statewide.
    • Objective 1-B-2: Work with local governments to improve maintenance of septic tanks.
    • Objective 1-B-3: Reduce food-borne disease outbreaks.
    • Objective 1-B-4: Reduce the impact of vector-borne diseases and potential rabies exposures.
    • Objective 1-B-5: Protect public drinking water.
  • Strategic Goal 1-C: Promote a coordinated, comprehensive public health preparedness and response system for natural or manmade disasters or terrorist events.
    • Objective 1-C-1: Develop a Public Health Emergency Management Plan and procedures integrated into the state Emergency Operations Plans and State Homeland Security Strategy.
    • Objective 1-C-2: Provide necessary equipment to staff and community partners to enable safe responses.
    • Objective 1-C-3: Create response teams in each region and at the state level with training, awareness and operation levels to handle emergencies.
    • Objective 1-C-4: Improve public health capabilities to detect, prevent and respond to natural disasters, technological disasters or acts of terrorism.
  • Strategic Goal 1-D: Work with local governments and communities to improve land use plans to balance growth and natural resource protection.
    • Objective 1-D-1: Partner with local governments and communities to encourage and improve land use planning and natural resource protection.
    • Objective 1-D-2: Increase agency participation in efforts to address broad statewide and regional natural resource protection and land use planning.
  • Strategic Goal 1-E: Expand public knowledge of and involvement in environmental and health issues.
    • Objective 1-E-1: Increase public awareness through health and environmental education, publications, presentations and the DHEC Web site.
    • Objective 1-E-2: Encourage public participation in DHEC activities whenever appropriate.

Goal 2 - Improve the quality and years of healthy life for all

A DHEC employee observes a little girl putting a puzzle together.DHEC is helping South Carolinians have healthier lives by promoting healthy behaviors, addressing maternal and child health and senior health issues, promoting immunizations, and improving access to care.

We know that people who engage in healthy behaviors live longer and enjoy a better quality of life. Unfortunately, South Carolina has a long way to go to achieve optimal health for our citizens. For example, in 2004, over 24 percent of S.C. adults reported being a current smoker, and only 23 percent reported performing moderate physical activity every day. Among our youth, 36 percent reported being a current smoker in 1999, and only 22 percent reported moderate physical activity on most days. Various DHEC programs promote regular exercise, not smoking, eating nutritious foods, avoiding becoming overweight or obese, and getting the age-appropriate health screenings that are important for early detection of potential health problems. In collaboration with other state and local partners, DHEC is also implementing broader prevention plans to increase healthy behaviors and reduce cancer, diabetes and the risk of injury. Every positive step we take to increase healthy behaviors will improve the overall health status of our population.

It has been proven that immunizations reduce disease and mortality. In the past, South Carolina has maintained high immunization coverage for children; we must be vigilant and work to ensure that coverage levels stay high. Among seniors, the state has made improvements, but we still have a way to go. People older than 65 have a higher risk of getting influenza and pneumonia and developing related complications, the fifth leading cause of death in this age group. In 2004, only 66 percent of seniors over 65 received a flu shot, and only 64 percent had ever received a pneumonia shot. Improving immunization rates for pneumonia and influenza among adults in South Carolina could significantly reduce illness and death from these diseases as well as reduce the costs incurred from treating them.

The rate of infant deaths is a major indicator of the health status of a population. South Carolina has improved recently, but we continue to lag behind national standards. Black babies continue to die at more than twice the rate of white babies. In 2003, the overall infant mortality rate was 8.4 deaths per thousand live births, 6.1 per 1,000 among white infants, and 12.4 among black infants. DHEC is working to address infant mortality and improve infant and child health. We visit newborns in their homes, assess the risks of pregnant women, learn better ways to prevent infant and child deaths, provide Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition services, promote breastfeeding, screen infants for hearing and metabolic disorders, prevent teen pregnancies and provide reproductive health services.

An increasingly important issue for South Carolinians is how to ensure the health and well-being of seniors. We live in an aging state. Projections show that by the year 2020, one out of every three citizens will fall into this age group. The public health challenge is how to support services that enable older people to function as independently as possible for as long as possible. DHEC is addressing this challenge by educating elder care providers about how to prevent falls. In 2003 in South Carolina, there were more than 22,000 emergency room visits due to falls in the 65 and over population. We are also providing home health services that reduce the need for hospitalization and institutionalization and partnering with others to promote and plan for healthy aging interventions.

Finally, the health and well-being of all South Carolinians depends on access to high-quality health care. DHEC is actively working with the private medical community to provide comprehensive medical and psychosocial services to the state's vulnerable populations, including women, children and infants. We are also working with others to improve the quality of care through promotion of best practices.

  • Strategic Goal 2-A: Promote healthy behaviors.
    • Objective 2-A-1: Develop effective state and local partnerships to promote healthy behaviors including good nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use cessation.
    • Objective 2-A-2: Provide best practices, consultation and training regarding risk reduction/ health promotion programs and policies.
    • Objective 2-A-3: Implement interventions to prevent tobacco use, promote cessation and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.
    • Objective 2-A-4: Collaborate with public and private partners to develop and implement statewide prevention plans targeting diabetes, cardiovascular health, cancer, injury, tobacco, obesity or associated risk factors.
    • Objective 2-A-5: Provide education and information to providers on the importance of prevention and early detection of major cancers.
    • Objective 2-A-6: Develop and implement a model employee-focused wellness program at DHEC.
  • Strategic Goal 2-B: Reduce the occurrence of vaccine preventable diseases.
    • Objective 2-B-1: Maintain and improve immunization rates among children age 19 to 35 months.
    • Objective 2-B-2: Improve influenza and pneumococcal vaccination coverages among adults, 65 years and older, and decrease the coverage disparity between white and minority seniors.
    • Objective 2-B-3: Develop and implement an Immunization Registry.
    • Objective 2-B-4: Increase the percent of public vaccine provider assessments of immunization levels within the past two years.
    • Objective 2-B-5: Identify and secure resources to support the implementation of recommended vaccines.
  • Strategic Goal 2-C: Improve maternal and child health.
    • Objective 2-C-1: Increase the percent of newborns receiving a newborn home visit.
    • Objective 2-C-2: Risk assess and refer appropriately all pregnant women who are public health department clients.
    • Objective 2-C-3: Review all infant deaths and unexplained or unexpected child deaths.
    • Objective 2-C-4: Increase the percent of the targeted population who receive Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition services.
    • Objective 2-C-5: Increase the percent of infants who are breastfed.
    • Objective 2-C-6: Increase the percent of newborn children who receive screenings and follow-up for hearing impairment, inborn errors of metabolism and hemoglobinopathies.
    • Objective 2-C-7: Identify, secure resources and implement a statewide initiative that addresses asthma incidence.
    • Objective 2-C-8: Improve reproductive health services to women and men in need.
  • Strategic Goal 2-D: Improve the quality of life for seniors living at home and in long-term care facilities.
    • Objective 2-D-1: Raise awareness among seniors, family caregivers and providers of elder care on ways to reduce injuries to seniors due to falls.
    • Objective 2-D-2: Maintain access to home health services.
    • Objective 2-D-3: Collaborate with public and private partners to promote healthy aging.
  • Strategic Goal 2-E: Improve access to comprehensive, high quality care.
    • Objective 2-E-1: Increase the number of medical home partnerships for pregnant women, children and children with special health care needs.
    • Objective 2-E-2: Improve the effectiveness of the BabyNet program.
    • Objective 2-E-3: Expand the breast and cervical cancer treatment programs.
    • Objective 2-E-4: Improve the quality of emergency medical services throughout South Carolina, particularly in rural and underserved areas.
    • Objective 2-E-5: Increase the percent of federally qualified and rural health care centers that have integrated "Clinical Preventive Services" into their daily practices.

Goal 3 - Eliminate health disparities

A DHEC nurse listens to a child's chest through a stethoscope.When certain subgroups of a population suffer greater burdens of disease and death, the entire population suffers. This "disparity gap" is the difference between the disease or death rates among two or more groups. There are many different types of health disparities, including differences in health status by gender, income, education and geography. Disparities by race and ethnicity are a major and long-standing concern in South Carolina. These differences are particularly great when comparing the health status of whites to blacks. South Carolina must reduce health disparities to improve the health status of all South Carolinians.

DHEC is working to reduce health disparities in communicable and chronic disease outcomes. Blacks make up approximately 30 percent of the state's total population (2003 population estimate), but account for 77 percent of the state's recently diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases and more than 70 percent of all syphilis cases. Persons of color also continue to be adversely affected by tuberculosis in greater numbers than whites.

As for chronic diseases, DHEC is undertaking prevention efforts to address cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as breast, cervical and prostate cancers. Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death in South Carolina, respectively, and these diseases particularly affect blacks. Black men are more than twice as likely to die of heart disease than white men, and black women have 50 percent more strokes than white women. Diabetes prevalence is increasing and is now the sixth leading cause of death in South Carolina. Blacks are affected more than other populations, with 15.5 percent having diabetes compared to 9.9 percent of Hispanics and 7.3 percent of whites. Breast cancer affects many women in our state. White women are diagnosed more often with breast cancer. However, black women are diagnosed at later stages, resulting in increased death rates. Cervical cancer death rates have declined overall during the past decade, but because black women are diagnosed more frequently than white women with cancer in a late stage, their chances of dying from cervical cancer are twice that of white women. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, accounting for 30 percent of all cancers in the state. Three times more black men than white men die of prostate cancer.

Partnering with communities to address their specific health issues for all age and racial/ethnic groups can significantly improve the health status of South Carolinians. Screening and early detection of communicable and chronic diseases can make a dramatic difference in the well-being of an individual, as survival likelihood is higher when diseases are detected early. Innovative approaches to reach at-risk populations, including faith-based approaches and partnering with minority-serving and minority-based community organizations, are key strategies for DHEC.

A new challenge facing South Carolina as we work to eliminate health disparities is the overall increase in the Hispanic population. Hispanics are disproportionately affected by many diseases, including diabetes, and addressing these issues requires innovative and culturally appropriate interventions.

  • Strategic Goal 3-A: Reduce disparities in the incidence and the impact of communicable diseases.
    • Objective 3-A-1: Increase the number of community-based, minority-serving organizations that are implementing strategies to address HIV.
    • Objective 3-A-2: Strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations and local public health departments to implement and evaluate effective STD/HIV prevention and care programs.
    • Objective 3-A-3: Increase the proportion of minority HIV-infected and high-risk persons receiving appropriate prevention, referral and care/treatment services.
    • Objective 3-A-4: Decrease the incidence of perinatal HIV transmission.
    • Objective 3-A-5: Eliminate syphilis among South Carolina residents.
    • Objective 3-A-6: Decrease the prevalence of chlamydia and gonorrhea.
    • Objective 3-A-7: Increase the percent of patients with newly diagnosed tuberculosis who complete therapy within 12 months.
  • Strategic Goal 3-B: Reduce disparities in illness, disability and premature deaths from chronic diseases.
    • Objective 3-B-1: Increase the number of minorities with diabetes who receive recommended diabetes care (eye exams, foot exams, flu/pneumonia immunizations and A1c tests).
    • Objective 3-B-2: Increase the percent of high-risk minorities who receive diabetes information and/or diabetes self-management education.
    • Objective 3-B-3: Develop and implement a social marketing-based educational program targeting African-American men that increases their awareness about the need for prostate screening.
    • Objective 3-B-4: Increase the percent of minority women screened through the Best Chance Network program.
    • Objective 3-B-5: Increase the number of minorities at risk for heart attacks and stroke who are receiving education interventions.
    • Objective 3-B-6: Develop and implement community- and faith-based initiatives to address health disparities.

Goal 4 - Protect, enhance and sustain environmental and coastal resources

DHEC field staff perform an environmental test.DHEC is committed to a healthy and safe environment for South Carolina citizens by working to: maintain the quality of the environment; correct the mistakes of the past; improve our environment for the future; and provide special protection to our fragile coast.

While having a clean environment is a worthy goal in itself, it is also essential to public health and economic development. In an increasingly automobile-dependent world, we must continue to seek ways to minimize air pollution. Poor air quality aggravates chronic respiratory problems and diminishes quality of life. When we cannot hold air pollution in check, new businesses and industry cannot get necessary operating permits. This stifles economic growth in addition to harming our physical well-being.

South Carolina citizens deserve clean and abundant drinking water, fish and shellfish that are safe to eat, and clean places to swim and recreate. New businesses and industry also need clean water for many of their processes and a place to dispose of their effluent. It is a continual challenge to have quality growth while reducing the amount of waste released into our waterways.

For years, we have treated our land as an expendable resource – dumping wastes, destroying wetlands, building on green space, etc. We must stop dumping and destroying. We must balance economically sound development and redevelopment with environmental protection and social responsibility. DHEC's Brownfields program encourages the beneficial reuse of abandoned and underutilized properties by offering State Superfund liability protection to prospective purchasers who want to clean up and reuse a contaminated or potentially contaminated property. We also need to do a better job as citizens to reduce the amount of waste we generate and to recycle what we can. In this way, we can help reduce the need for landfills and conserve our natural resources. South Carolina has done an excellent job of recycling in the past, and we need to continue these efforts.

  • Strategic Goal 4-A: Protect the environment to improve public health and safety.
    • Objective 4-A-1: Collect data to assess and characterize environmental conditions.
    • Objective 4-A-2: Increase areas in South Carolina where environmental standards for air, water, and land and waste management are met.
    • Objective 4-A-3: Reduce non-compliance of regulated activities and facilities to meet applicable protective standards.
    • Objective 4-A-4: Minimize the impact to public health and the environment from environmental emergencies, disasters and spills.
    • Objective 4-A-5: Reduce exposure to contaminants.
  • Strategic Goal 4-B: Enhance environmental and coastal resources.
    • Objective 4-B-1: Promote improvement in environmental quality beyond current regulatory standards.
    • Objective 4-B-2: Reduce the amount of waste generated.
    • Objective 4-B-3: Attain healthy and publicly accessible beaches.
  • Strategic Goal 4-C: Restore impaired natural resources and sustain them for beneficial use.
    • Objective 4-C-1: Clean and restore Brownfields and other contaminated sites for beneficial uses.
    • Objective 4-C-2: Reduce direct and indirect loadings of pollutants to surface waters and groundwaters.
  • Strategic Goal 4-D: Protect coastal and other sensitive areas.
    • Objective 4-D-1: Protect sensitive and fragile areas against impacts from encroaching development and restore and/or enhance these areas as opportunities are presented.
    • Objective 4-D-2: Coordinate with the research community to better direct research toward identified environmental management needs.
    • Objective 4-D-3: Improve, in conjunction with other partners, education through outreach to the community, developers, local officials and the public.

Goal 5 - Improve organizational capacity and quality

DHEC staff working in a medical records room.The emergence of many new issues and threats such as Avian Influenza, West Nile Virus, SARs and, most recently, homeland security, point to the need for a well-prepared public health system and workforce. Public health workers and programs are critical resources for meeting present and future threats. DHEC works to improve and support health services and enhance the state's capability to anticipate, recognize, prevent and respond to environmental and public health threats and improve access to technology and other information systems.

The long-term goals and the strategic goals in this plan provide a common vision for the next five years and the future. Goal five focuses on the organizational investments the agency must make to successfully achieve its other four goals, and directly supports the ongoing performance management activities within the agency.

Because our agency provides leadership and makes decisions that affect health and the environment, a first-rate team of professionals is essential. We must have a workforce with the knowledge and skills to address both the persistent health problems and the new challenges we face. Workforce development is critical to fulfilling our mission. An effective internal communication system is also vital to maximize the talent, energy and contributions of our staff. In addition, we need a pleasant work environment that sustains employee morale and enhances customer service.

To keep pace with the ever-changing world of information technology, DHEC must constantly enhance its information systems. Information to support decision-making, both internally and in the communities we serve, must be timely and accurate. With much of the infrastructure now in place, we need to ensure that all employees have access to the necessary technology to perform their jobs effectively.

Professional staff in a diverse organization depend on good communication to act as a unified agency. The information flowing through our organizational units contributes to our ability to learn and improve as an organization. Our external communication allows us to educate, develop and maintain relationships with our many customers and partners and will ultimately lead to better customer service for our citizens. Our capacity for transition will allow us to deal with changes while remaining focused on our goals. Maximum flexibility in the use of resources will allow us to better address priorities and achieve our goals.

  • Strategic Goal 5-A: Provide continuous development of a competent and diverse workforce.
    • Objective 5-A-1: Develop and implement a workforce plan in each deputy area that identifies areas of critical need, gaps, core competencies and training needs.
    • Objective 5-A-2: Provide adequate workforce capacity building and knowledge transfer.
    • Objective 5-A-3: Implement an agency learning management system to automate the administration of training plans and events for all public health workers, health care providers and community response partners.
    • Objective 5-A-4: Ensure that agency managers are using available and appropriate incentives to reward and recognize deserving employees.
    • Objective 5-A-5: Improve agency recruitment strategies to increase the pool of qualified applicants.
  • Strategic Goal 5-B: Provide reliable, valid and timely information for internal and external decision-making.
    • Objective 5-B-1: Improve standards across the agency for collecting, processing and distributing data.
    • Objective 5-B-2: Continue to develop Public Health Infomatics infrastructure to improve data and system integration.
    • Objective 5-B-3: Develop and maintain a management scorecard of measures to monitor agency progress on strategic plan goals and objectives.
    • Objective 5-B-4: Improve and increase public health and environmental information available to the public through the agency Web site.
    • Objective 5-B-5: Complete DHEC's core data system integration of S.C. Vital Records and Statistics Integrated Information System (SCVRSIIS), Carolina Health Electronic Surveillance System (CHESS) and Client Automated Record and Encounter System (CARES).
    • Objective 5-B-6: Improve the analysis and dissemination of health disparities data.
  • Strategic Goal 5-C: Ensure customer focus and cultural competence in the agency.
    • Objective 5-C-1: Develop a standard set of agency criteria for creating customer-focused programs which: 1) identifies key customers, their expectations and requirements; 2) creates structured feedback mechanisms; and 3) allows feedback to be used to improve programs.
    • Objective 5-C-2: Assure that culturally and linguistically appropriate service policies and procedures are a part of each deputy area operational plan.
    • Objective 5-C-3: Evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the agency's cultural competency efforts.
  • Strategic Goal 5-D: Improve the linkage between funding and agency strategic direction.
    • Objective 5-D-1: Evaluate and develop activity-based cost accounting systems that provide unit cost information on major agency functions.
    • Objective 5-D-2: Implement improved budgeting processes to allow for better management of agency operations.
  • Strategic Goal 5-E: Improve operational efficiencies through the use of improved technology and facilities.
    • Objective 5-E-1: Increase the percent of staff who have access to and use appropriate information and communication technology.
    • Objective 5-E-2: Continue to pursue consolidation of the agency's facilities and workforce where appropriate.

Development of the 2005-2010 Strategic Plan

Building on the foundation of the 2000-2005 Strategic Plan, the 2005-2010 Strategic Plan represents more than a year and a half of intense work by DHEC leadership, Board members, managers and staff. The Executive Management Team (EMT) reaffirmed the agency mission and vision, and modified the values by adding "our employees." Eight broad goals were consolidated and refined to five broad goals to better reflect strategic direction for the agency. Strategic goals from the 2000-2005 Plan were reviewed, and EMT approved the plan framework and planning process to set direction for developing the agency's next five-year plan.

Nathan Strong, our consultant from the state Office of Human Resources, Budget and Control Board, facilitated 30 focus groups with more than 225 agency managers and supervisors participating. Focus group results and comments were posted on the agency Intranet.

The Strategic Plan Council, representing each of the deputy areas and the coordinating group for all agency planning activities, was charged with revising the 2000-2005 Strategic Plan based on EMT direction. The Strategic Plan Council developed the plan draft based on focus groups results and staff input. The draft plan was then sent to each deputy area for final review and comment and then to EMT for final approval. The DHEC Board reviewed and approved the plan in June 2005.

Strategic Plan Comparison


2000-2005 2005-2010
Mission & Vision Mission & Vision
6 Values 7 Values
8 Broad Goals 5 Broad Goals
36 Strategic Goals 21 Strategic Goals
180+ Outcomes 88 Objectives

Acknowledgements

The development of the 2005-2010 Strategic Plan took significant effort from many DHEC staff. We would like to acknowledge the Commissioner and the Executive Management Team for leadership and direction; Wanda Crotwell and the Division of Communication Resources, including Kris Black, for layout and design and Karen Addy, for editing assistance; Jan Easterling of the Division of Media Resources for editing assistance; and Pat Witt of the Office of Planning for technical support. We would also like to recognize Nathan Strong of the Office of Human Resources, State Budget and Control Board for facilitating and supporting the agency's planning efforts.

Strategic Plan Council:

Special thanks go to the members of the Strategic Plan Council who devoted many hours of hard work to produce and refine the Strategic Plan 2005–2010.

Cheryl Coleman (Chair), Janet Clarke, Dorothy Cumbey, Leon Frishman, Morris Govan, Joe Kyle, Patty Dod Lolas, Darbi MacPhail, Steve Moore, Mark Morris, Jerry Paul, Myra Reece, Mike Rowe, Les Shelton, John Simkovich, Steve Snyder

Communication Group:

The following individuals contributed great ideas regarding the development and design of planning materials and resources as well as for the deployment of the plan throughout the agency:

Ellen Boyce, Melinda Bradshaw, Ann Clark, Janet Clarke, Cheryl Coleman, Dorothy Cumbey, Patty Dod Lolas, Tanis Duffie, Barbara Grice, Darbi MacPhail, Carlon Mitchell, Kimberly Newell, James Owens, Stanley Pasley, Myra Reece, Pat Witt

Focus Group Participants:

The following focus group participants and other members of the DHEC staff provided important input on the goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan.

Adriane Able, Bob Arndt, David Baize, Patricia Baker, Mark Barnes, Raymond Barteet, Linda Bell, MD, Ronnie Belleggia, Cherrie Bennett, Russell Berry, Sharon Biggers, Gloria Black, Jan Blackwell, Ellen Boyce, Art Braswell, Lynn Braun, Ron Brock, Steve Brooks, Rocky Browder, Stephanie Brundage, Michael Burke, Bruce Busbee, Patricia Butler, Mike Byrd, Becky Campbell, Don Campbell, Janet Caputo, Robert Carlton, Lou-Ann Carter, James Catoe, Frank Caughman, Betty Cervenka, Mike Chappell, Ann Clark, Stan Clark, Janet Clarke, Ramelle Coker, Cheryl Coleman, Marilyn Coleman, Bradley Collier, Trisha Collins, Keith Collinsworth, Douglas Cooper, Phyllis Copeland, Gene Crocker, Stuart Crosby, Jay Daniels, Gwen Davis, Jeff DeBessonet, Cansas Deitz, Rob Devlin, Colleen Donovan, John Dotterer, Mary Gay Drake, Tanis Duffie, Luke Dukes, Jan Easterling, Mary Edmonds, Nancy Edmunds, Margaret Feld, Jon Fisher, Sandra Flemming, Janie Foster, Robin Foy, Keith Frost, Susan Frost, Mary Fuhrman, Bill Galardi, Rheta Geddings, Richard Geer, Dennis Gibbs, Jerry Gibson, MD, Lucy Gibson, Thomas Gillette, David Goolsby, Morris Govan, Jon Granger, Vicki Green, Jesse Greene, RN, Barbara Grice, James Hackett, Lillie Hall, Dick Hatfield, Roger Heck, Khosrow Heidari, Marge Heim, Debra Hernandez, Thomas Hickey, Shauna Hicks, Rhonda Hill, Lib Hinson, Cristi Horne, Mark Hough, Buddy Hudson, Fran Human, Bob Hutchinson, Reg Hutchinson, Robert Jackson, Thomas Jenkins, Sandra Jeter, Linda Johnson, Candace Jones, Curtis Joyner, Jianli Kan, Harvey Kayman, MD, Craig Kennedy, Lynda Kettinger, Doug Kinard, Erika Kirby, John Kneece, Kenneth Knight, Sally Knowles, Joseph Kyle, JoAnn Lafontaine, Randy Langston, Max Learner, Melvin Lewis, Keith Lindler, John Litton, Patty Dod Lolas, Fran Long, Wyman Looney, Kay Lowder, Kay Lowell, Larry Maddox, Dory Masters, Melinda Mathias, Harry Mathis, Suzette McClellan, Christopher McCluskey, Rod McCormick, Brenda McLellan, Luanne Miles, Rebecca Mills, Derrick Mims, Carlon Mitchell, Steve Moore, Mark Morris, Marvin Murray, Daphne Neel, Eric Neil, Glenn Nichols, Mary Helen Niemeyer, MD, Angie Olawsky, James Owens, JoAnn Palmer, Stanley Pasley, Donald Peace, Matt Petrofes, Cora Plass, Elizabeth Potter, Jo Ann Price, Claire Prince, James Raymond, Myra Reece, Missy Reese, Scott Reynolds, Carl Richardson, Alarice Robinson, Mike Rowe, Leah Rowland, Joe Rucker, Gardenia Ruff, Christine Sanford-Coker, Denise Sanger, Renee Shealy, Les Shelton, Janet Sheridan, Shelly Sherritt, Ann Shetler, Jared Shoultz, John Simkovich, DMD, Angela Slitzer, Alonzo Smith, Bradley Smith, Steve Snyder, Andre Stanley, David Steele, Chris Stephens, Terri Stephens, Linda Summerall, Janet Tapp, Ken Taylor, Barbara Thomas, Dennis Thompson, Rhonda Banks Thompson, Cindy Timmons, Alice Truluck, Sandra Tucker, Lisbeth Turner, Christine Veschusio, Jennifer Vickery, Burnese Walker, Pat Walker, Deborah Wallace, Christopher Ward, Phil Ward, Nancy Whittle, David Wilson, Arthur Wozniak, Vicki Zelenko, Guang Zhao

Common Planning Terms

Long-Range Goal - This is a broad, timeless and largely unmeasurable statement of desired results.

Strategic Goal - This is a somewhat more measurable goal statement that reflects a specifically desired outcome within the long-range goal.

Objective - Objectives explain exactly what the organization plans to do. They are derived from goals, capable of being measured, and generally expressed in terms that make them time period specific.

Performance Measure - This is a specific indicator that defines how an objective will be measured that includes process or impact.

Strategy - Strategies explain how the organization intends to do what it wants to do. A strategy is a specific planned course of action to achieve the stated objectives.

Activities - Activities are the details. They are specific tactics to be used or tasks that must be completed to fulfill a strategy.