February 21, 2014

Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina supports Health Policy Fellows Program

Eleven members of the South Carolina General Assembly were recognized at a February 10 reception as the inaugural class of fellows from the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health’s (IMPH) Health Policy Fellows Program. The program is supported by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina and The Duke Endowment. It provides members of the South Carolina General Assembly with evidence-based health policy information about complex health topics in a non-partisan manner.

“The Health Policy Fellows Program is a unique opportunity for elected officials to receive evidence-based information on health issues from a neutral source,” stated IMPH Executive Director Kester Freeman. “The inaugural offering of this program represents a critical milestone in the work of the SC Institute of Medicine and Public Health to inform policy to improve health and healthcare in our state.”

As chairman of the IMPH Board, Dr. Fred Carter said, “We're delighted at the success of this inaugural Health Policy Fellows Program. The legislators interacted extensively with the presenters and sustained an ongoing dialogue about health programs and the state of health care in this state. We are all appreciative of The Duke Endowment and Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina working with us to make this possible.”

The Health Policy Fellows Program is intended to assist elected officials by providing resources and information related to complex health topics. These issues are sometimes clearly defined but can frequently be embedded in factors outside the influence of traditional health and healthcare. This program highlights the importance of considering health implications as factors across all policy decisions.

Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter said, “The Health Policy Fellows Program is an invaluable resource to help elected officials connect the dots between health, education, employment, preventive care and the environment. I strongly encourage all of my colleagues to invest time in this educational program.”

The fellows program included national speakers and South Carolina experts. Panels of health and public health professionals provided information about the state’s health challenges and shared examples of promising practices across the state that are achieving success in improving community health. Sessions focused on outlining the challenges and opportunities to improve health in South Carolina; improving the return on investment in health systems and financing; and using a practical framework for engaging in open, balanced and effective dialogue.

“It was an honor to be a member of the Health Policy Fellows Program,” said Representative Mike Ryhal. “The speakers did an exceptional job of presenting the complex issues of health care education, community involvement and personal responsibility. The emphasis on the necessity of providers, businesses and the legislative body working together to come up with meaningful solutions was excellent.”

The next offering of the Health Policy Fellows Program is planned for the fall of 2015.

The full class of inaugural fellows included:

  • Senator John W. Matthews, Jr.
  • Senator Clementa C. Pinckney
  • Representative Rita A. Allison
  • Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter
  • Representative Laurie S. Funderburk
  • Representative Phyllis Henderson
  • Representative Jenny A. Horne
  • Representative David J. Mack, III
  • Representative Joe H. Neal
  • Representative Andy Patrick
  • Representative Mike Ryhal

The Sisters of Charity Foundation is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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