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The Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant

2010 Success Stories


Bike Month Provides Avenues for Fun

In May 2010, a new message was introduced to the Anderson, S.C. community: “Share the Road – for everyone’s safety.”  Angie Stringer, Anderson County Public Information Officer, introduced this message during Bike Month in Anderson. “Unfortunately, there are far too may people who have lost a loved one in a tragic auto and bike accidents. Many drivers are not aware that bicycles are legally required to ride in the streets and roads, not on sidewalks,” stated Stringer.

S.C. statistics say it all:

  • Nearly 66 percent of adults are overweight or obese, and more than 54 percent do not engage in sufficient amounts of physical activity or none at all;
  • S.C. was ranked in the top 10 nationally in 2007 for the number of per capita fatalities for pedestrians and bicyclists as a result of crashes with motor vehicles, and has the 5th highest pedestrian death rate in the nation; and
  • The Anderson County pedestrian crash ranking was the 9th highest in the state from 2003-2007. 

These barriers create a vicious cycle of nowhere to safely be active, and therefore, a greater lack of physical activity.

Thanks to Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant dollars and a mini-grant from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Division of Obesity Prevention and Control, DHEC Region 1 has partnered with the city of Anderson, Anderson County and Imagine Anderson (Anderson County’s vision plan committee) since early 2009 to begin tackling the issues of physical activity, bicycle and pedestrian safety in Anderson. A grassroots committee was formed in 2009; Anderson Complete the Streets, with the mission of working within the city and county of Anderson to create an environment that is safe and promotes physical activity.  Accomplishments of the committee include:

  • Complete the Streets Resolutions passed unanimously by Anderson City and County Council in 2009, stating support of complete street efforts in Anderson;
  • The 1st and 2nd Annual Tour de La France events were held, featuring bike rides across the county, and a bicycle rodeo and helmet distribution for children; and
  • City and County Councils signed proclamations in April 2010 declaring May as Bike Month in Anderson.

Complete the Streets of Anderson saw the largest community participation and support during Bike Month 2010, which raised awareness of bicycle safety and provided safe outlets for citizens to ride their bikes in town.  

  • A kick-off event was held the first weekend of May, which included a Bike Rodeo with free helmets for the first fifty kids;
  • On national Bike to Work Day, the Complete the Streets Committee sponsored a morning bike ride with the mayor and county administer; and
  • Over 100 community members participated in the month-long event.

Contact: Blythe S. Smith, MPH, CHES
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control - Region 1
220 McGee Road, Anderson, S.C. 29625

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College Garden Boosts Fruit and Veggie Consumption in Gaffney

Mrs. Dennis of Gaffney Meals on Wheels worries about the clients her program serves because so many are battling devastating chronic diseases. In fact, heart disease and cancer are the top two leading causes of death in Cherokee County. One of the key recommendations in chronic disease prevention is daily consumption of at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. However, 83 percent of residents in Cherokee County do not meet these recommendations.  For a majority of Meals on Wheels’ clients, the one meal they receive from the program is their main source of food each day. For those battling chronic diseases, it is imperative that their meals contain a variety of nutrient rich foods like fruits and vegetables. With the increasing cost of food, coupled with her shrinking budget, Ms. Dennis struggles to include these important food items in the weekly meal plan.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Public Health Region 2, which includes Cherokee, Greenville, Pickens, Spartanburg, and Union counties, partnered with Limestone College to target one of the preventable risk factors for chronic disease – insufficient consumption of fruits and vegetables. Thanks to funds from Prevention Health and Health Services Block Grant, Region 2 staff and Dr. Felicia Cavallini, a Limestone College professor, coordinated an initiative that not only promoted healthy eating habits, but also increased the availability of fruits and vegetables for Meals on Wheels clients and other residents of Gaffney.  The project components implemented by the Limestone College/DHEC partnership included:

  • Building, planting, and harvesting a raised bed garden on campus;
  • Providing mini grants to fund raised bed gardens at local schools; and
  • Sponsoring a community event on campus to promote raised bed and container gardening.

The outcome of this project was far-reaching and impacted diverse groups within the local community. The results were as follows:

  • Produce from a campus raised bed garden was donated to Meals on Wheels, a local soup kitchen, and the campus cafeteria; 
  • Four mini grants were awarded to three elementary schools and one high school to build and plant raised bed gardens with college and high school students serving as mentors to the elementary school garden projects;
  • Successful community garden awareness day was sponsored on the Limestone College campus. Over 150 Cherokee County residents were in attendance. This event was also instrumental in expanding and strengthening community partnerships. Partners included Clemson Extension and their Master Gardener’s program, Lowe’s Home Improvement Store, the local garden club, the City of Gaffney, and several departments within the university system; and
  • Limestone College project model will be highlighted at conferences and workshops as an effective strategy to address chronic disease prevention.

Dr. Cavallini’s dream of uniting the college and community around a significant health issue has been realized, and Ms. Dennis’s Meals on Wheels clients have reaped the benefits of the campus garden. I have been waiting for something like this!” exclaimed Ms. Dennis after receiving the first harvest from the on-campus raised bed garden. Participation by Meals on Wheels was a blessing for Dr. Cavallini as well.  She not only found a way to increase awareness about healthy eating, but also tied in the concept of civic engagement, something she strives to instill among the students of her Community Health class, and her co-workers. Limestone College took the lead, engaged diverse members of the community, and changed the environment of Gaffney, SC…one garden at a time. 

Contact: Karen Fradua, MS, CHES
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control – Region 2
(864) 596-2227 ext. 266;

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Rock Hill Cycles Its Way to Creating a Bicycle Friendly Community

Phyllis Martin knows firsthand that physical activity can be a lifesaver. The Rock Hill resident and cycling enthusiast suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS) but is committed to staying active.

“Riding the bike has given me the gift of being able to hold on to my body,” she says.  “MS would have taken it a long time ago if I had not been so active.”

Martin wants to make sure others in her community have safe and accessible places to participate in physical activity. She is not alone in her quest.

With adult obesity risk factor rates increasing across South Carolina to include more than half the population, the City of Rock Hill also recognized the importance of addressing how the community supported physical activity. Improving biking and pedestrian access are part of the City’s 2020 Master Plan. However, no dedicated bike lanes exist in city or county limits. Therefore, there was a need to assess bikeability or how bicycle friendly the community was and find ways to make it more conducive to such activities.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control Region 3, which is supported by the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, partnered with local groups to address bikeability in Rock Hill. This group, called Bike Rock Hill, included the City of Rock Hill, Winthrop University, Rock Hill Bike Club, and Eat Smart Move More York County.  During 2009-2010, Bike Rock Hill:

  • Developed a survey to assess community interest and perception of bikeability;
  • Hosted a webinar for police officers about bicycle laws and safety,
  • Held a workshop on bike commuting and took part in Bike-to-Work week;
  • Held four bicycle safety clinics with 120 participants;
  • Held a family-friendly five-mile ride through Rock Hill led by the mayor with over 75 participants;
  • Developed an educational brochure on  bicycle safety and awareness;
  • Promoted the Ride of Silence during National Bike Month in May 2010 with over 40 participants.

As a result of this project, Bike Rock Hill has become a subcommittee of the City of Rock Hill’s Trails and Greenways Committee.  This committee, made up of diverse partners, has achieved the following results:

  • More than 200 people responded to Bike Rock Hill’s survey, and results have been shared with participants and partners. Results showed overwhelming support for increasing the community’s bikeablility.
  • Survey results are being shared with the Rock Hill Traffic Commission and city planners to support and advocate for bicycle accommodations.
  • Bike Rock Hill developed both website and a listserv to continue communication about bicycling, community events, and advocacy.
  • The committee is working on drafting a Complete Streets resolution, which is a first step in creating policy to make streets friendly and accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders.

As this committee continues to work with partners, community and city to create an environment supportive of active living, it hopes to see a decrease in our obesity rates and a healthier community.

Contact:  Susan Collier, MS, RD, LD
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control – Region 3
1070 Heckle Blvd., Rock Hill, S.C. 29732
(803) 909-7336

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Expanding the Florence Trail System to Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice

In 2000, the City of Florence had parks throughout the city.  However, it required getting in an automobile to safely get from one to another.  At that time, the Palmetto Conservation Foundation began a local office in Florence.  The Executive Director formed the first Florence Trail Committee and that’s where the magic began.  The Florence Trail Committee at the time consisted of community members and agency representatives, such as Parks and Recreation, Florence County Planning, South Carolina Department of Transportation, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Clemson University Cooperative Extension Services, and local business and political representation.  The issue of focus was getting people to be more active and to connect the existing parks in the city.  Both of these things could be achieved through the development of walking and biking trails throughout the city.

The City of Florence received a parcel of land on an abandoned rail bed from a generous community member.  The committee raised funding through grants and in-kind donations to develop this rail bed into the current Florence Rail Trail.  It is a 1.7 mile paved path that winds through neighborhoods and wooded areas across Jeffries Creek.  It is the arterial path that connects all of the other paths throughout Florence today. 

In 2001, the Palmetto Conservation Foundation closed its local office and left a void in the leadership position in the Florence Trail Committee.  Thanks to the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant funding and local foundation funding, DHEC was able to step up to lead this effort.  After the initial Florence Rail Trail was developed in 2002, the momentum in the community grew.  Through the efforts of the DHEC trail coordinator and the Florence Trail Committee, more funding was issued to develop a Bikeway Master Plan for the county.  The City of Florence and Florence County Planning Department continue to use this plan to develop trail linkages within the community today.

Over time, those that have been involved with the trail system have changed.  However, the Florence Trail Committee continues to hold quarterly meetings through the Florence County Department of Planning and Zoning.  The Florence Rail Trail’s success is shown by the fact that it is used:

  • As a drawing feature in the city where community walks and runs are held;
  • By McLeod Health and Fitness Center  to conduct outdoor classes; and
  • By a wide variety of citizens including dog walkers, grandparents and parents strolling babies, young children learning to rollerblade and bike, runners, walkers and cyclists of every age and athletic ability.

Teresa Baxley of Florence says, "I use the Florence Rail Trail to walk with my friends and family. A while back, my friend was going through a lot with her husband and we walked the trail at least three or four times a week to unwind and talk things out. We love walking on it - just us and her kids. My husband and I ride our bikes on the trail too.  It is a great place to ride your bikes, walk, or just stroll through the now various walkways through the woods. In my opinion, it is the best place to get exercise, to walk, and to see nature safely in Florence."

The City of Florence now has over 20 miles of biking and walking paths.  In addition, bike and pedestrian accommodations are now included in future city and county plans. In the 10 years since this effort began, it has become safer and more convenient for members of the Florence community to walk and bike.  We have room for improvement, but we are continuing to strive to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Contact: Lori Phillips, MPH, CHES
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control – Region 4
1705 W. Evans Street, Florence, S.C.  29501 
(843) 413-6433; (843) 317-4044 (fax);

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Allendale is Growing for Health

Welcome to the Sugar Hill/Flat Street Neighborhood Association!  We're a group of enthusiastic residents in Allendale, whose vision is to create a safe and healthy environment for our community. Unity brings us together. Our Get it Growing for Health project teams resident elderly with the youth in our community.  The overall goals are for them to share in the joy, wonder and beauty of gardening while learning from each other and about the rewards and importance of replenishing nature.

Allendale County is a small, rural county with low income, a high unemployment rate, and many major health problems.  The county is part of the S.C. Department and Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Public Health Region 5, where more than 78 percent of Allendale’s adult population is overweight, compared to the state at 31 percent. This is coupled with a high rate of sedentary lifestyle at 31 percent, compared to the state rate of 24 percent. 

DHEC’s Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant provided funding to help DHEC Region 5 to combat this disturbing data.  Region 5 staff conducted presentations for the Sugar Hill/Flat Street Neighborhood Association Town Meeting, where participants learned about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.  This neighborhood association enthusiastically embraced the concept of healthy lifestyle changes, and already has a program in place whereby both youth and elderly contribute to gardening efforts.  The following events will be taking place:

  • Lottie’s Community Garden, located in a small neighborhood near the downtown area, is also near an African-American Cultural Center that will be used to conduct food demonstrations using the fresh vegetables and fruits from the garden.
  • This garden is in walking distance from an elementary school, and a children’s garden is included for educational activities.
  • This effort will be linked to the Walk-A-Plenty trail located in the downtown area, a route that includes the local farmers market, businesses, post office and the health department.

To reinforce the concept of eating more vegetables and fruits, exciting events are underway for this fall.  Plans include:

  • A “Healthy Taste of Fruits & Vegetables” event will be conducted in the garden and all participants will receive vegetable seeds and a small watering can to promote “Get it Growing for Health!”
  • The community garden will be participating in the new farmers market.  Members have been trained and certified by the USDA; the group is now able to accept WIC and EBT instruments, making their produce available to a wider cross-section of the community.
  • The garden efforts will be linked to a kick-off event to introduce the walking trail and formally open it to the community this fall. 

Contact: Barbara Grice, MS, CHES
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control – Region 5
1550 Carolina Avenue, P.O. Box 1126 Orangeburg, S.C. 29116
(803) 533-7276;

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Seniors Harvest the Benefits of Healthy Aging

Mr. Smith, a retiree from Georgetown along with other members of the Georgetown Senior Center, wanted to eat fresh fruits and vegetables but realized they didn’t have easy access to such tasty and nutritious treats in their own neighborhoods. Mr. Smith also knew he needed to increase physical activity for better mobility and flexibility. 

Overweight and obesity are common risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. According to Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, in 2007, 68 percent of Georgetown County residents were overweight as compared to 66 percent for South Carolina. Some health problems the elderly commonly experience, such as arthritis, may be improved by eating a healthy diet and increasing physical activity.

Through funding from the Preventive Health-Health Services Block Grant and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Diabetes Prevention and Control Division, DHEC Public Health Region 6 was able to begin tackling this problem in Georgetown County. DHEC Region 6, which includes Georgetown and two other counties along the S.C. coast, worked closely with the Georgetown County Bureau of Aging to create sustainable community food systems through the Senior Garden Project. This effort also involved community partnerships with Clemson University Extension and local Clemson Extension Master Gardeners.

The Senior Garden Project, which involved Senior Center members planting and maintaining a vegetable garden was developed using the following strategies:

  • Planning sessions with seniors to assess needs for a community garden and resources needed to develop the garden;
  • Development of an organized garden committee to discuss maintenance, management and other issues; and
  • Creation of partnerships with local organizations and agencies that support healthy aging.

Over 50 Georgetown Senior Center participants have benefited from the garden and have enjoyed receiving fresh produce, increasing their daily hours of physical activity and reducing their monthly grocery bill. Other results include:

  • The garden assisted 10 indigent families from the local community by providing fresh produce on a frequent basis;
  • The senior citizen gardeners trained clients from a local youth group home on ways to develop gardening skills and learn how to create their own garden; and
  • The project expanded to develop a Senior Garden at Georgetown County Bureau of Aging sites in Andrews, St Luke, North Santee and Plantersville, which benefited over 150 participants.

Contact:  Regina L. Nesmith, MS
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control - Region 6
520 Thurgood Marshall Highway, Kingstree, S.C. 29556
(843) 355-6012;

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Students, Teachers and Families Participate in Walk to School Day

Nationally thirty years ago more than 66 percent of children walked to school, but currently it is estimated that not more than 13 percent of our children are walking to school. Tracie Horton, a registered nurse at AC Corcoran Elementary School in North Charleston, SC, noticed that the percentage of their students walking to school was also low. In addition, the students reported preferring video games indoors instead of playing outside. Tracie felt that these two things were contributing to the physical inactivity of their students.  She decided to combat this mindset of physical inactivity by coordinating the school’s second year of participation in the nationally recognized Walk to School Day.  Tracie hoped to increase participation over year one and draw attention to what makes a safe, walkable community. Her ultimate goal was for the school community to come together and become more physically active by walking.

Thanks to the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant funds, staff in Public Health Region 7 at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, which includes Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, were able to support the AC Corcoran Heath and Wellness Committee’s coordination of the school’s participation in their second Walk to School Day. The following activities occurred: 

  • Recruited Walk to School Day partners which included SAFE KIDS Coalition, Trident Area, North Charleston Fire Department, Charleston County Sheriff Department, Federal Express, Piggly Wiggly and Eat Smart, Move More South Carolina; 
  • Coordinated safety precautions by arranging for Charleston County Sheriff deputies to escort students and their parents from designated sections of the neighborhood to school;
  • Designated drop- off areas for car and bus student riders to allow participation in walk; and
  • Organized mini Safety Fair for the walkers, which included healthy snacks, being served by parent volunteers and cafeteria staff.

AC Corcoran’s second Walk to School Day was a big success with 100 percent of the students and teachers participating.  Principal Janice Timko said, “We are definitely holding Walk to School Day next year.  Our Walk to School day has had a positive effect on the school.  The parents and students said it made them feel special and gave them a sense of community as well.  They wish they can do it every day.”  The overall consensus was, “Walking can be fun!”  The following results were achieved:

  • The development of an after-school running club, consisting of 35 students;   
  • The identified need to monitor speed of vehicles near the school’s crossing area; and
  • The school’s administration acknowledgement to assess the built environment around the school and commitment of continued participation in the event in the future.

Contact: Sharon Crossley, MPH
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control – Region 7
3 Charleston Center Drive, Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 579-4522;

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Walking Toward a Healthier Community

Estill is located in the southern portion of Hampton County, with a total population of 21,268, which represents a 71 percent rural and 29 percent urban breakdown.  The African-American residents are disproportionately affected by all chronic diseases, and represent the majority of the population in Hampton County.  The rates of overweight and obese residents of South Carolina are among the highest in the nation and, according to the Eat Smart Move More South Carolina statistics, Hampton County’s rate is above 70 percent of the total adult population. These rates are extremely disconcerting because obesity can lead to an increased risk for chronic diseases, which adds to an unhealthy lifespan.

Funding from the S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Preventive Health & Health Services Block Grant supported the implementation of an Action Oriented Project (AOP) in the development of a quarter-mile walking trail. This funding has been leveraged with other available funding within the Hampton County area, to engage the local city and county government, faith, educational and recreational communities in a joint effort to build a healthier community. The focus of the AOP is to promote physical activity for low-income populations.  Estill was chosen due to the project-readiness of the community to provide direction and sustainability for the walking trail, which will include a lighted path and physical activity stations.  Local support for this important project has been exciting: 

  • Local school students are serving as champions of the trail, by using it as a natural learning opportunity, and by providing beautification through indigenous planting projects;
  • The town council donated the land for the project, and through the use of the funding received, the physical plans were developed; and
  • Local governmental leaders have been in full support and have secured additional funding from local state representatives for the walking trail, and have committed to the sustainability of the trail through maintaining its the lighting, physical condition and safety.

The Mayor of the Town of Estill, Mr. Taylor, said that he has never seen this type of collaboration within Estill!   The AOP Collaborative will continue to work toward the health and wellbeing of their residents.  Results are impressive:

  • The trail has been completed and is ready for use; 
  • At the onset of the project, there were four community partnerships serving as the catalyst for the walking trail, and currently there are at least fifteen partners at the table who have formed the AOP Collaborative to help with the momentum and accountability for continued sustainability of the walking trail project in Estill; and
  • Local youth from Hampton County School District 2 have become engaged in the project, have met several times, and have named themselves the Youth Wellness Ambassador (YMA) Subcommittee.  This subcommittee has provided civic direction and opportunity for the youth in Estill. 

Contact:  Geri Lester Baldasare
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control – Region 8                           
1407 King Street, Beaufort, S.C.  29902                              
(843) 522-1696;

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School and Community Gardening Together to Combat Obesity

Ms. Irma Lowman, a retired middle school teacher knows firsthand the devastation and detrimental impact childhood obesity can cause.  Years ago while teaching, one of her middle school students who was obese died from complications caused by diabetes.  Ms. Lowman said that childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes continue to be an issue at the Anna Boyd School in Columbia, South Carolina where she volunteers.

According to medical experts, physical inactivity and poor eating habits contributes to obesity, which complicates diabetes. The 2009 South Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey states that 18.5 percent of children ages 10-17 are overweight or obese and 33.3 percent of high school students did not meet the recommended level of physical activity, which is 60 minutes a day five or more days a week. According to the American Medical Association, if this trend continues one in three children will develop Type 2 diabetes, primarily due to a poor diet and lack of physical activity.  These alarming facts and statistics drove Ms. Lowman, a member of Columbia Links, Inc. and Ms. Kelli Johnson, principal at the Anna Boyd School into action.

The Columbia Chapter of Links, Inc., a non-profit organization, and the Anna Boyd School partnered to empower students to make changes in their poor diets and sedentary lifestyles. The two entities joined together to create a community garden to promote healthy eating and physical activity. Thanks to a monetary award received by All-Health Team, a S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control program partly funded by the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, the students participated in the following activities:

  • They learned about all aspects of gardening, planting seasons, soil preparation, maintenance, 
  • They researched and selected plants appropriate for season; and
  • Students had tasting tests of vegetables prepared in a healthy way.

The project has taught students how eating habits and physical activity impact their health.  The following successes have been achieved:

  • Six students began gardens at home;
  • Produce from the garden was shared with elderly members in the community;
  • Healthy recipes were shared with students and parents;
  • 90 percent of students eating more vegetables and fruits at school; and
  • The project was expanded to include a walking club.

This project has provided students the opportunity to impact their personal health and the health of their, families, and community. By implementing the skills they have learned, they will be able to prevent obesity, which leads to various chronic diseases.

Contact: Joann Moton Minder, Health Communications
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
(803) 545-4501,

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Well-Equipped Ambulances and Protocols Save Lives

While hitting golf balls at the Trent Jones Golf Course on Hilton Head Island, Dave Bryson, EMS Specialist for the U.S. Department of Transportation, began experiencing what he thought to be “moderate heartburn.”  As he entered the doorway of the clubhouse, he asked the man behind the counter to call 9-1-1 and tell the operator that “I’m an off-duty firefighter and emergency medical technician from Virginia with chest pain, trouble breathing, profuse sweating and about to lose consciousness.”  The SC EMS system of care was activated.  But would it provide the lifesaving care Mr. Bryson needed when every minute counts?

The statistics are staggering:

  • Heart disease accounted for 55,663 hospitalizations in South Carolina during 2008, with a total hospitalization cost of more than $2.6 billion.
  • Almost 700,000 Americans die each year from heart disease. Heart disease is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States.

The Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant provides funding for licensing, inspections and examinations within the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Division of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Trauma.  This ensures the emergency medical system of care provides our citizens and visitors with qualified personnel who respond in a timely manner with appropriate equipment.  This is accomplished by the following activities:

  • Licensing and inspecting EMS agencies to ensure that essential equipment, qualified personnel and appropriate patient care protocols are in place;
  • Inspecting ambulance vehicles for compliance with state mandatory equipment and sanitation standards; and
  • Performing complaint investigations and reprimands for regulatory infractions to include improper patient care.

Within minutes of activating the emergency medical system of care, the ambulance crew arrived on scene and quickly recognized Dave was having a very specific type of heart attack that required surgery to restore blood flow to his heart.  Following their protocols, the ambulance crew set in motion a series of events that allowed the blood flow to Dave’s heart to be restored within only 33 minutes.  “Every patient, regardless of condition, should have this level of care regardless of where they have their event.  It’s how a system should work and it worked perfectly for me,” said Mr. Bryson.

Contact:  Jennifer L. Paddock
Division of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
(803) 545-4569;

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Agriculture and Public Health Endorses Gardening to Fight Childhood Overweight and Obesity

Imagine the taste of a freshly picked, ripe, red tomato or the crunch of crisp salad greens just gathered from the garden. Although there are 87 community-based farmers markets and 148 certified roadside markets, many South Carolina’s young citizens have never experienced the joy, or the inherent benefits, of eating locally grown produce.  According to 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data, only 17 percent of South Carolina students in 9th through 12th grade ate vegetables and fruits five or more times per day compared to 21 percent nationally. Overweight and obesity and the related risk factors of unhealthy eating and inadequate amounts of physical activity increase the risk for developing other chronic conditions and diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, arthritis, sleep apnea, and depression.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) became concerned about the dramatic increase in overweight and obesity among South Carolina school students and committed to doing something about the problem.  A key staff member at SCDA asked for assistance from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and other organizations to find an appropriate strategy to address the overweight and obesity issue in South Carolina.  Funds received from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant helped support this effort.   The following activities occurred:

  • Formed a steering committee to identify current overweight and obesity initiatives across the state;
  • Developed strategies outlining ways SCDA could support current initiatives; and
  • Developed a report for the Commissioner of Agriculture recommending a school garden initiative.

The collaboration yielded the following results:

  • Commissioner of Agriculture endorsed the school garden recommendation;
  • School garden base-line survey was conducted;
  • Schools were invited to apply for school garden mini-grants; and
  • School garden initiative received support from Eat Smart Move More SC, the state’s obesity prevention coalition.

Continued commitment from the SCDA will only help to expand the reach of the school garden program. Soon, more South Carolina students will reap the health and taste benefits of vegetables and fruits they helped to grow in their own school gardens.

Contact: Susan S. Frost, MS, RD, LD
Bureau of Community Health and Chronic Disease Prevention
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
(803) 545-4487;

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City and County Endorses Safe Streets Resolution for All Users

A headline in Sun News stated, authorities are seeking the driver of a vehicle that hit and killed a pedestrian late Friday and then fled the scene of the crash.  Jessica Evans, 26, is the 3rd pedestrian killed in Horry County in the last 10 days.  Another headline in The Post and Courier stated a South Carolina man has been arrested in a hit-and-run that killed a man on a bicycle. Headlines like these are not uncommon in South Carolina.

Sprawling communities have become dangerous and inconvenient places to walk, bicycle, and take transit.  According to Road Map to Safety Statistics, in the five-year period, January 1, 2003 – December 31, 2007 there were 4,578 traffic crashes in South Carolina which involved at least one pedestrian. Out of the 46 counties in South Carolina, Anderson County ranked 9th in the state. 

Streets should be designed to safely transport all users including pedestrians and bikers.
Complete Streets represent an innovation in traditional road construction philosophy by requiring all road construction and improvement projects to evaluate how street design will provide safe transportation for all users.   

Thanks to funds from the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Division of Obesity Prevention and Control Cooperative Agreement Number U58/DP001386 (DOPC) a partnership was formed among DOPC, Healthy Communities, Palmetto Cycling Coalition and Eat Smart Move More. The partnership held four-hour training sessions in Rock Hill, Conway, Summerville, and Anderson to educate municipalities about the importance of implementing Complete Streets. 

As a result of the training and increased awareness of Complete Streets, Anderson County has accomplished the following:

  • Formed a core group of community members to work with the city and county to promote, design and build streets, trails and greenways that are accessible for all users;
  • Coordinated a bike event which included bike safety courses, distribution of bike helmets, and a bike ride downtown Anderson; and
  • Passed a city and county Complete Streets Resolution for all new transportation improvement projects to provide appropriate accommodation for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and persons of all abilities.

Holt Hopkins, the county’s Transportation Director and Interim Assistant Administrator said, “We’re trying to bring awareness to the need. Approving the resolution could open doors to some federal grants.”  My staff will look at “complete streets” any time a project bigger than repaving happens,” said Hopkins.  The efforts to develop complete streets will reduce crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians and help to create transportation options for all citizens regardless of age or ability.

Contact: Jay Daniels, MPH, Healthy Communities Consultant                   
S.C. Department of Health & Environmental Control          
1800 St. Julian Place, Columbia, S.C. 29204            
(803) 545-4486;

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Getting the “MOST” in Violence Prevention

Jamie Fleming, a staff member at Hope Haven Rape Crisis Center in Beaufort, is working to prevent violence against women in South Carolina. His approach starts with first reaching out to young men in middle and high school.

Violence against women and girls is a widespread public health problem that knows no boundaries of age, race, culture, wealth and geography. It takes place in the home, on the streets, in schools, and in the workplace.

Sexual and domestic violence is especially prevalent among youth in our state. On the 2009 South Carolina Youth Behavior Risk Survey, youth reported:

  • 8.6 percent had been physically forced to have sexual intercourse.
  • 16.1 percent had recently been hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend.

The South Carolina Department of Health through support from the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and the 16 Sexual Assault Centers in the state have joined together to focus on primary prevention of sexual violence. This includes programs such as the one Fleming runs called the Most (Men of Strength) Clubs, which is for male youth in elementary, middle and high school. It and other similar programs statewide:

  • Explore relationships, gender roles, coercion, and control.
  • Helps young men and women to have more responsible and healthy relationships during their school years and beyond into adulthood.
  • Provides young men with a structured and supportive space to learn about healthy masculinity and redefines male strength.
  • Teaches young men to become allies with women and girls in fostering healthy relationships and equity.

More than 20 boys have benefited from participating in the MOST Club program.  This coming school year, the program is tripling in size and expanding to six schools. 

Here is what some of the recent graduates had to say about their MOST experience.

“The MOST Club is about treating girls with respect. It means it’s ok to like a girl, and stand up for her. MOST means to be a man, and to use my strength for doing good. I respect myself, and I don’t have to be like everyone else,” said one middle school member.

"To me (being a man of strength) means to be somebody that stands up for your ideas, to have honor and pride and know what to do and what not to at any given time in any situation.  Not to be a stereotype and try to be a strong person, a person that never cries.  It's not about how strong you are or how many girls you get, it's about how you live your life, and the choices you make during that lifetime." 

Contact: Jane W. Key
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
1751 Calhoun St., Columbia, S.C. 29201