South Carolina continues to rank near the bottom of the list for most health issues, including heart disease, cancer and overall health. The reasons for our consistently poor performance are complicated but at the same time, quite simple. They include a variety of factors related to poverty, genetics, education and investment in health services. But they also include personal decisions such as whether we choose to smoke, what we choose to eat and if we choose to exercise.
Three out of every five South Carolina adults are either overweight or obese and therefore at increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, certain cancers, heart disease, high cholesterol, gall bladder disease, sleep apnea, depression, osteoarthritis and asthma. Tobacco use, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity are three huge risk factors leading to early and preventable disease and contributing significantly to the cost of providing health services.
Hospitals can be natural leaders in prevention. As community-oriented, mission-driven organizations, hospitals understand the role that health plays in the community and to the individual. As employers, they understand the high cost of preventable illness and disease among the almost 80,000 South Carolinians who work in hospitals.
To spread this prevention message statewide, in 2011 The Duke Endowment awarded a multi-year grant to SCHA to launch a new initiative called Working Well. Working Well is collaborating with similar initiatives, including those coordinated by Eat Smart, Move More SC, to capitalize on the resources made available through these partners.
SCHA has also teamed up with the Prevention Partners to support South Carolina hospitals in their efforts to develop and implement wellness policies and work environments that promote better health.
Because of the success with SC hospitals, Working Well was chosen as a Healthy SC Initiative strategy, and received funding through the Community Transformation Grant managed by SC Department of Health and Environmental Control. To date, Working Well has been implemented into 32 general industry businesses throughout the state of South Carolina, impacting workforces in industries such as higher education, manufacturing, municipalities and city government, school districts, and corporate headquarters.
For more information on Working Well, please contact Jen Wright, Working Well Manager firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This work is made possible by the generosity of The Duke Endowment. South Carolina’s hospitals are grateful for the vision of James B. Duke, who established The Duke Endowment in December of 1924. For more information on the legacy of Mr. Duke and the work of The Duke Endowment, visit www.dukeendowment.org.