Local coalition led by Tidelands Health receives $450,000 grant to improve health in Georgetown County
A local coalition led by Tidelands Health has received a $450,000 grant from The Duke Endowment to improve health in Georgetown County.
LiveWell Georgetown County, a group of public and private organizations working collaboratively, is one of 20 regional coalitions across the Carolinas participating in The Duke Endowment’s “Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas” initiative.
The program promotes behavior changes that address chronic issues such as unhealthy weight, diabetes and heart disease by increasing physical activity and nutrition. LiveWell Georgetown County involves leaders from a wide spectrum of community organizations in developing ways to engage residents in improving their health.
Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas is active in 16 South Carolina counties. The initiative began in early 2016 in North Carolina, and The Duke Endowment has plans to expand it even further. LiveWell Georgetown County joined in 2018.
“We’ve made tremendous progress in the past three years engaging Georgetown County residents and giving them knowledge and tools to take active roles in collaborating with us to improve their overall health,” said Kelly Kaminski, senior director of community health resources at Tidelands Health. “But we still have much work to do, and this generous grant from The Duke Endowment will go a long way in helping us expand capacity and reach even more people in our community.
“Where we live, where we go to school and work, how we spend our free time – even our ability to access fresh food and safely exercise near our home – all contribute to our health and well-being. To truly improve health within our community, we have to expand how we think about what affects our health. It’s more than just what we eat and how many calories we burn. It’s how our community and its economy impact our health.”
Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas provides opportunities to bring together leaders from hospitals, health systems, health departments and other health-promoting organizations. The grant will be used to expand the LiveWell Georgetown County coalition to increase capacity and improve population health in Georgetown County.
Research shows that South Carolina ranks 42nd among all states when it comes to the overall health of its residents, earning poor rankings for obesity and physical inactivity rates. Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas recognizes that health and well-being are created and sustained not just through individual and clinical efforts but also through the cooperation and support of the extended local community.
“The health challenges facing the Carolinas have been decades in the making,” said Lin Hollowell, director of health care at The Duke Endowment. “They cannot be effectively addressed overnight, though we’re starting to see the roots of progress take hold in the first set of Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas communities. The health challenges also cannot be solved by individuals and organizations working alone. Through Healthy People, Health Carolinas, communities can work together to confront their problems and make the most progress in achieving solutions.”
Representatives from the coalitions participate in a learning collaborative with opportunities to share information with each other as they develop best practices for organizing, planning and implementing evidence-based programs known to improve health.
“The coalitions selected by the Endowment are intentionally diverse and unique,” said Laura Cole of the South Carolina Hospital Association, which is providing expert assistance to each local coalition in the Palmetto State. “While there will be many opportunities for exchanging ideas, each community will receive support to pave its own path forward. The hope is that eventually the lessons of these coalitions can inform the work of others throughout the Carolinas.”