3rd SC Annual Population Health Summit Focuses on Health Equity

by Elizabeth W. Duda

Rock Hill, SC (June 8, 2018) – Eat Smart Move More York County (ESMMYC) joined community-based leaders, including healthcare professionals, social workers, non-profit stakeholders and business leaders, at the 3rd Annual South Carolina Population Health Summit. The goal was to foster community health improvement efforts through collaborative learning. Keynote speakers addressed the 11 locations via videoconference; the individual locations then covered regional issues and opportunities. They talked about creating a “culture of equity,” ensuring “health equity” in policies and working together to reach goals.

After the 1st Annual SC Population Health Summit in 2016, participants formed Impact York County. It brings together York County organizations to support a “culture of health” and demonstrate collective impact. At this third summit, York County attendees discussed how to take action to achieve health equity. They noted an existing effort with Impact York County, Rock Hill Reads, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of York County targeting Saluda Street neighborhoods in Rock Hill where 75% of children live in poverty. Summit attendees considered existing resources and how to get other key people involved. Participants discussed the need to identify and address unintended consequences of policies and regulations. A “next step” will be for Impact York County to engage community members, politicians, businesses and community partners. And package the message to effectively communicate goals, to gain support and consensus.

Dave Keely, MD., chair of the ESMMYC Advocacy and Healthy Together 5-2-1-0 committees, notes that “raising community health to the level of being a key element in ‘infrastructure’ and ‘smart growth’ planning has eluded York County to this point.  The annual Population Health Summit continues to be a strong impetus for addressing this need through evidence-based action targeting the County’s ill-health challenges and their associated social determinants.”

The day-long summit had a diverse range of keynote speakers.

  • Lillian Peake, MD, Director of Public Health at SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), presented Live Healthy SC, South Carolina’s first state health improvement plan.
  • Ericka Burroughs-Girardi, Community Coach at the national County Health Rankings & Roadmaps center, discussed the 2018 County Health Rankings and practical strategies to leverage data to achieve health equity.
  • Kellye McKenzie, Director of Health at Trident United Way, described the Tri-County Health Improvement Plan and key tools communities can use to support the development of a local health Improvement plan.
  • A panel discussion highlighted Innovative approaches to address the social determinants of health through collaboration and partnerships and improving health equity.
  • Rick Foster, MD, Executive Director of the Alliance for a Healthier South Carolina, gave a formal educational presentation on the importance of looking at community health improvement through an equity lens.
  • Anil Yallapragad, MD, from Palmetto Health, gave an overview of the Holy Stroke program, a collaborative between churches and the local hospital to address the crisis of the stroke belt and demonstrate a means by which parishioners afflicted with cardiovascular disease risk factors can be enrolled into primary care prevention programs.
  • Karen Fradua of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System and Lakesa Whitner of the Northside Development Group discussed partnering with the hospital and community to address the social determinants of health and improving the community’s health.

This third annual Population Health Summit was again facilitated by the Alliance for a Healthier South Carolina (healthiersc.org). It is SC’s largest virtual public health summit and represents an unprecedented coalition across our state committed to health.

To get involved, contact Shekinah Miller, Impact York County chair, at smiller@affinityhealthcenter.org.