Health Centers Remain Focused on Health Care Access During Pandemic

Health Centers Remain Focused on Health Care Access During Pandemic

Regina Mitchell, MHA, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, New Horizon Family Health Services, Inc.

By Regina M. Mitchell, MHA, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, New Horizon Family Health Services, Inc.

This week, Community Health Centers across the country are celebrating National Health Center Week (NHCW) to increase awareness of the ways health centers, like New Horizon Family Health Services (NHFHS), improve the health of the communities we serve.

For more than 50 years, health centers have been the safety net for vulnerable populations by providing comprehensive primary and preventative health care to all people regardless of their insurance status. NHFHS has served the Upstate since 1992 and operates medical offices in Greenville, Greer and Travelers Rest, a dental office in Greenville, two mobile medical units and a mobile dental unit. Our mission is to provide quality, affordable, compassionate patient-centered health care to improve the health of the communities we serve. Each year, more than 28,000 individuals rely on our organization to access a variety of services including primary medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and laboratory services.

NHFHS’ Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) program serves over 2,600 patients experiencing homelessness each year in 13 counties using a 35-foot mobile medical unit at strategic collaborative partner agency locations. In 2019, NHFHS partnered with Miracle Hill Ministries to launch the first in-shelter Medical Respite Care Program in the state to provide individuals experiencing homelessness a safe place to recover after hospital discharge.

Our organization’s Ryan White Program provides services including primary and HIV specialty medical care, medical case management, prescription assistance, behavioral health counseling and HIV prevention services to over 1,200 individuals living with HIV/AIDS in 10 Upstate counties each year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many unexpected challenges to the communities we serve. Some families have lost loved ones to the virus. Others have experienced issues such as food insecurity, unemployment, lack of housing and loss of health insurance.

Our team has remained focused on ensuring that patients can access primary care, manage chronic conditions and fill prescriptions. NHFHS’ Clinical Counselors have helped a growing number of patients struggling with conditions including depression, anxiety and trauma during this time. Our Care Management Team has continued to connect patients with resources for basic needs such as food, housing and transportation.

Our organization has also played an important role in COVID-19 vaccine delivery. All NHFHS medical offices offer the vaccine to eligible individuals in our community. Call 864-729-8330, extension 1766 to make an appointment or simply walk in to our 975 W. Faris Road office in Greenville Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 3:30 pm – no appointment needed.

We have also worked hard to educate our patients and staff regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. If you still are hesitant to get the shot, I encourage you to speak with your primary care provider who can answer your questions.

While the future of the pandemic remains unknown, we do know one thing for certain. The COVID-19 vaccine is one of the best tools we have to fight the virus and keep our communities healthy.  Don’t wait to get vaccinated. As COVID-19 cases rise, I urge you to be part of the solution and protect yourself, your loved ones and your communities by getting the vaccine.

Chautauqua History Comes Alive Festival: “Reinventing America” – September 3 – 12, 2021 – All Free!

Chautauqua History Comes Alive Festival: “Reinventing America” – September 3 – 12, 2021 – All Free!

Over a year in waiting, the Chautauqua History Comes Alive Festival – “Reinventing America” starring Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Hedy Lamarr and Rosa Parks, has been finally scheduled for September 3 – 12, 2021. Reinventing America – what topic would be more appropriate after a deadly disease has turned our entire world upside-down? After all, after the Plague came the Renaissance.

This ten-day, two-weekend festival offers non-stop live history and fun for the whole family. Get ready to laugh, cry and flat out have a great time. Daily live shows are performed in costume by nationally acclaimed historical interpreters. There will be great story-telling, lots to laugh about, and deep secrets revealed. You’ll laugh – you’ll cry – you’ll have lots of questions. And they’ll be answered. Bring your stories. Share your experiences. Get inspired. Because you’re a part of the show. It’s not just history – it’s personal.

Step back in time and meet these brilliant American game changers – hear their stories – ask them how their world changed. Create a new nation with BEN FRANKLIN. Turn darkness into light with Thomas Edison. Spark the Electrical Revolution with NIKOLA TESLA. Set the stage for WiFi and cell phones with Hollywood’s HEDY LAMARR. And like ROSA PARKS demand your Civil Rights.

To provide a safe environment for our audience all main shows will be held outdoors – daytime and evening. If inclement weather prevents an outdoor event, the performance will be aired virtually at HistoryComesAlive.org.

America has always been – and remains – a work in progress. Each generation has reinvented itself, often in the face of extreme challenges. What happens next? Find out this September at the Chautauqua History Comes Alive Festival – Reinventing America!  There’s nothing like experiencing history outdoors in a beautiful setting.  There will be great story-telling, lots to laugh about, and deep secrets revealed. You’ll laugh – you’ll cry – you’ll have lots of questions. And they’ll be answered. Bring your stories. Share your experiences. Get inspired. Because it’s not just history – it’s personal.

What can you expect at Chautauqua? Historical interpreters dressed in costume will bring each character to life and to speak in the character’s own words. But then the audience becomes a part of the show with their questions. The replies will be historically authentic, based on research using letters, diaries, journals, and published writings. Finally, the performer will step out of character and answer the audience questions the character either couldn’t or wouldn’t answer.

Who are the performers? A cast of nationally acclaimed historical interpreters.  There are simply no better interpreters of these powerful and fascinating historic figures. Ben Franklin (Larry Bounds, Greer, SC) – Thomas Edison (Hank Fincken, Indianapolis IN) – Nikola Tesla (Ian Ruskin, Los Angeles, CA) – Hedy Lamarr (Judith Kalaora, Boston MA) – Rosa Parks (Becky Stone, Fairview NC.)

Where can I see the shows? Outdoor live shows are (September 3 – 12) – Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater, 101 City Center Dr, Mauldin, SC 29662. Bring lawn seating. No reservations needed. Discussion series to be held indoors at the Upcountry History Museum, 540 Buncombe St, Greenville, SC 29601 (Registration required for Discussion Series – HistoryComesAlive.org)

When can I see the shows? Evening outdoor shows at 7pm Friday Sept 3 – Sunday Sept 12. Daytime outdoor shows at 10am Saturday Sept 4 and Monday Sept 6 through Sunday Sept 12.

ASL Interpreted Shows at Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Auditorium (bring lawn seating) – Free.

Wednesday September 8 at 7pm – Thomas Edison
Thursday September 9 at 7pm – Nikola Tesla
Friday September 10 at 7pm – Rosa Parks

Saturday September 11 at 7pm – Ben Franklin
Sunday September 12 at 7pm – Hedy Lamarr

School Outreach programs

As a part of the 2021 History Comes Alive Festival, Chautauqua will also perform the Reinventing America shows at seven Greenville County Schools.

Greenville Chautauqua 
More than history. More than a performance. More than a story. We are Chautauqua, a nonprofit, experiential oral tradition that brings history to life through interactive theater and compelling discussion that stimulates critical thinking. We believe stories should be told and histories deserve to be heard.  We’re committed to bringing great communities together to celebrate culture, conversation, and critical thought. We celebrate the diversity of our culture through a variety of voices from the past because history belongs to all of us. As a non-profit dedicated to bringing history to life, our events are and always will be free, fun, and family-friendly.

CHAUTAUQUA HISTORY ALIVE FESTIVAL SCHEDULE September 3 – 12, 2021

GREATER GREENVILLE (Free)

Friday 9/3
7:00p   Ben Franklin, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

Saturday 9/4

10:00a Rosa Parks, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater
7:00p   Thomas Edison, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater
Sunday 9/5
7:00p   Nikola Tesla, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

Monday 9/6

10:00a Thomas Edison, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater
7:00p   Rosa Parks, Mauldin Amphitheater

Tuesday 9/7

10:00a Nikola Tesla, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

2:00p   Rosa Parks Discussion (reservations required,) Upcountry History Museum
7:00p   Hedy Lamarr, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

Wednesday 9/8
10:00a Ben Franklin, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

2:00p   Nikola Tesla Discussion (reservations required,) Upcountry History Museum
7:00p    Thomas Edison, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

Thursday 9/9
10:00a Hedy Lamarr, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

2:00p   Ben Franklin Discussion (reservations required,) Upcountry History Museum
7:00p   Nikola Tesla, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

Friday 9/10
10:00a Thomas Edison, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

2:00p   Hedy Lamarr Discussion (reservations required,) Upcountry History Museum
7:00p    Rosa Parks, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

Saturday 9/11
10:00a Nikola Tesla, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

2:00p   Thomas Edison Discussion (reservations required,) Upcountry History Museum
7:00p    Ben Franklin, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

Sunday 9/12

7:00p    Hedy Lamarr, Mauldin Cultural Center Outdoor Amphitheater

For more Information: HistoryComesAlive.org or phone 864-244-1499.

TATT Chat Recap – Creating a Safer Upstate Update

TATT Chat Recap – Creating a Safer Upstate Update

Special Program Update: Creating a Safer Upstate – Sheriff Rick Clark & Stinson Ferguson

You can view a recording of the meeting here and the presentation here.

Last year a steering committee was created with representatives across the Upstate from law enforcement, non-profits, clergy, citizens, and business leaders. Questions to address included what does a safer Upstate look Like? Who has the power to create a safer Upstate? How do we move forward? How do we engage non-English speakers? How do we capture the voices of young people? What information do we need? What are the barriers to success?

Three goals were recommended with one subcommittee to work on each:

Goal #1: Engage law enforcement officials, community leaders and residents to work together to build healthy working relationships that elevate mutual respect, value cultural differences, and acknowledge the roles and responsibilities that each play in creating safer Upstate Communities.

Goal #2: Provide regular opportunities for law enforcement and community leaders to convene to discuss community issues and emerging law enforcement topics while exploring approaches that can be implemented across the Upstate Region.

Goal #3: Enhance public trust by documenting, sharing and implementing best practice approaches for developing a sustainable, healthy relationship between law enforcement officials and the greater Upstate Community.

Police Department Community Outreach Survey – Chief Matt Hamby

As part of Goal #1, this subcommittee created a Police Community Engagement Survey. Please see the presentation for survey results:

  • The Safer Upstate Task Force created a survey asking about police community engagement that was sent out to 57 police departments and sheriff’s offices in Upstate South Carolina.
  • We received responses from 28 police departments and 4 sheriff’s offices.
  • We received a response from at least one department in all 10 counties in the Upstate.

Chief Hamby shared community engagement opportunities in Greer including summer youth camps, Fist Bump Fridays at schools, Citizens Academies, and National Nights Out. Chief Hamby encouraged agencies to request funding for community engagement. With the Greer budget of $4,000, they can engage many members of their community and build healthy relationships.

Tri-County Outreach Efforts and Community Meetings – Jacquelyn Blakley

Tri-County Tech, in conjunction with Clemson University and the Creating a Safer Upstate committee, has developed Community Leader Forums:

  • Partners: Tri-County, Clemson University and Creating a Safer Upstate
  • Attendees: Community leaders and law enforcement in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties
  • Goal: Build trust and develop healthy, sustainable relationships

Forums will include:

  • Roundtable Discussion
    • Police training and credentials
    • Community engagement
    • Neighborhood safety concerns
    • Policing policies
    • Other topics

Announcement of Community Safety Virtual Workshop Series – Kim Kegler

Beyond the Shield:
Perceptions, Realities & Community Concerns Around “Hot Button” Public Safety Issues

Each one-hour virtual session will include law enforcement officers and community leaders discussing elements of policing and how to build a collaborative understanding and dialogue around the issues, concerns and opportunities to create a Safer Upstate.

Creating a Safer Upstate Committee Initiatives – Stan Davis

Group #1 will move forward with a focus on data with a template to share information and include community engagement opportunities. Group #2 is pulling together programs to create awareness. Group #3 has taken the before-school engagement activities and piloted the concept around the Upstate with 11 schools visited at the end of the school year and a positive news story by Fox 21 as a result. The efforts of the committees will expand the role that residents play and continue to share best practices.

Resource Update – Billy Crank, LEAD Upstate

  • Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (LEAD) started with Seabrook Marchant buying breakfast for officers at Tommy’s Ham House and grew to an annual sit-down breakfast the Westin Poinsett Hotel.
  • Due to COVID, a drive through line was set up last year, providing 450 breakfasts and goody bags in 2020
  • The goal of LEAD Upstate is to bridge the local community and law enforcement together in the name of appreciation and gratitude.
  • LEAD Upstate provides an opportunity for residents to say thank you to all law enforcement personnel in Greenville County, including Greenville, Greer, Traveler’s Rest, Mauldin, Simpsonville and Fountain Inn.
  • Our sponsors are honored to host this event and participate by serving breakfast and handing out prizes.
LEAD Upstate

LEAD Upstate

About LEAD

The goal of LEAD Upstate is to bridge the local community and law enforcement together in the name of appreciation and gratitude. LEAD Upstate provides an opportunity for residents to say thank you to all law enforcement personnel in Greenville County, including Greenville, Greer, Traveler’s Rest, Mauldin, Simpsonville and Fountain Inn. Our sponsors are honored to host this event and participate by serving breakfast and handing out prizes. It truly means so much to the men and women who courageously dedicate their lives each day to serve and protect the citizens of their communities every day.

LEAD Upstate History

Seabrook Marchant, the founder of LEAD Upstate, has always held a special appreciation for law enforcement officers. As a previous member of the Civil Service Commission for Greenville, Seabrook was responsible for helping to hire police and firefighters for the city of Greenville. Through his service, Seabrook became well-acquainted with the needs, concerns, and triumphs of those within the law enforcement profession.

It was Seabrook’s numerous encounters with officers at Tommy’s Ham House that conceived the LEAD Upstate event. After witnessing an inordinate amount of police personnel at Tommy’s Ham House waiting for breakfast, Seabrook and a friend decided to buy their meals as a token of their appreciation. This was the small catalyst for the event, growing larger every year as Seabrook found appreciative sponsors to continue this tradition. There came a need for a bigger venue as “the law enforcement breakfast at Tommy’s Ham House” amassed more popularity amongst different municipal offices. After arranging accommodations at Westin Poinsett, officers were invited to come between shifts to enjoy breakfast and fellowship with one another. In addition to meal accommodations, each officer received “valor bags” filled with gifts from local businesses, organizations and sponsors, a tradition that is still kept today.

The LEAD Upstate Event

In its early years, LEAD Upstate was hosted as a sit down breakfast at The Westin Poinsett in Downtown Greenville. However, due to COVID-19, LEAD was transformed into a drive-through event in 2020, organized at the Greenville Convention Center and was the most successful function to date! The drive-through format allowed officers to stop by in between their shifts, allowing more officers to be served. Due to the overwhelming positive feedback received from last year’s event, the 2021 LEAD event will be hosted again at the Greenville Convention Center!

Upon arriving, officers will receive a complimentary breakfast box, coffee, a LEAD t-shirt, and valor bag filled with giveaway items. The reusable tote bags are graciously donated by an event sponsor, as are the contents inside. Items often include gift certificates to local restaurants, coupons, and various promotional items from local businesses. Another fan-favorite of the LEAD Upstate event is the various prize drawings. A large portion of the funds raised are used to buy big-ticket items to give away to officers registered for the event. In past years, items such as flat screen televisions, iPads, Apple Watches, Amazon Alexas, free rounds of golf, and much more have been gifted.

How to Get Involved

As the LEAD Upstate event continues to grow, any support is greatly appreciated and encouraged. To ensure this LEAD 2021 is a success, we are in need of volunteers to help facilitate this event. We are also

actively seeking donations, either in the form of monetary sponsorship or donations to the valor bags or giveaway prizes. Without your support, we would be unable to show our immense gratitude to the men and women who courageously dedicate their lives each day to serve the citizens of their communities.

Please visit our website to learn more about what we do, why we do it, and who we are serving. You can also find more sponsorship and contact information there as well.

www.leadupstate.com

TATT Chat Recap – Creating a Safer Upstate Update

Ten at the Top Executive Director Report – 2021 Mid-Year

Dean Hybl, Executive Director of Ten at the Top

As we reach the midway point of 2021, I think the saying “everything old is new again” seems to be quite appropriate.

After spending a year communicating virtually, interacting in-person is finally on the way back. Though it seemed a bit strange and uncomfortable at first, in recent weeks in-person gatherings have become more frequent and it has definitely been nice to handshake, fist-bump and hug after a year of focusing on not being on mute when talking during a virtual meeting.

Please click the image to see an enlarged graphic.

While we are starting to gravitate back to familiar territory, we certainly must remain diligent in relation to the ongoing threats from the COVID-19 pandemic.

If the last 16 months have taught me anything, it is that every situation is fluid and what seems set in stone today could be wiped out like a sandcastle on the beach by tomorrow.

As a non-profit focused on building regional capacity through collaboration and development of community partnerships, the last 16 months has certainly included logistical challenges, but also has proven to be a fruitful time for the development of partnerships that could have long-lasting impact in addressing key Upstate issues.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, TATT has utilized multiple communication platforms to connect people, organizations and communities to resources and information. As a result of this intentional focus, TATT has engaged with more people through electronic communications and virtual platforms than in any previous period in the history of the organization.

In addition to focusing on connecting people to information, TATT has also continued to convene stakeholders from across the region to address issues impacting economic vitality and quality of life in the region.

During the first half of 2021, this focus has resulted in a number of specific community successes as well as deployment of regional resources and initiatives that are helping build capacity in multiple areas.

These include:

  • Upstate Entrepreneur Ecosystem: Launched the Start-Grow Upstate regional website that serves as a searchable repository for services for someone looking to start or grow a business in the Upstate.
  • Upstate Mobility Alliance: Supported efforts by Greenwood County to start on-demand public transit service in the county. Service began on July 1st.
    • Also working with Abbeville County and Cherokee County on developing public transit and Spartanburg County on ride-sharing program.
    • Launched new MOVE neighborhood program to promote multi-model mobility options within communities in the Upstate. Currently conducting pilot program in West Greenville.
  • Upstate Professional Planners: Completed an analysis of the state-mandated comprehensive plans for the 10 Upstate counties as well as the cities of Greenville and Spartanburg.
  • Creating a Safer Upstate: Coordinated “Have a Safe Summer” end of school year student-law enforcement engagements at 11 schools across the Upstate
    • Conducting a Survey of Upstate Police Departments to get inventory of Community Outreach efforts across the region.

 

There is no doubt that much has changed across our communities, state, country and globe over the last 16 months, but one thing that has not changed is the importance of working collaboratively to address issue that have components that are larger than can be addressed by individual communities, organizations or businesses. As we look forward to the second half of 2021, TATT will continue to cultivate a multi-teared approach where we use in-person meetings, workshops and activities, virtual meetings and electronic communications platforms to convene, connect and continue to grow the collective capacity of the Upstate region.

Transforming Communities Through Education

Transforming Communities Through Education

Galen DeHay, Ph.D., President of Tri-County Technical College

At Tri-County Technical College (TCTC), we use the transformative power of education to create opportunity for all. Our student success mission equips us to do this work, and we have the partnerships to provide our students equitable opportunities to meet their career and life aspirations. Simply put, we are our community’s college.

As our community’s college, we strive to be a solutions provider and to work collaboratively with others to solve our communities’ most pressing needs. Right now, one of our region’s most pressing needs is to recruit, educate and train a diverse pool of law enforcement officers.

To meet this need, the S.C. Technical College System partnered with the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy to develop the Police Pre-Academy Training Certificate. The new 14-week certificate program, which launches this fall, aims to increase the education level of law enforcement officers and create a new workforce pathway for the profession.

There are many benefits to having a college-educated police force. For example, college prepares police officers for the challenges they will face in the diverse and multicultural communities they serve. As a result, studies show officers are less likely to use force as a first option.

Second, colleges help students develop creative problem-solving skills. These types of skills lead to better community-oriented policing. So, instead of responding to crime only after it occurs, law enforcement officers are able to proactively develop solutions to the underlying causes of public safety problems.

Attending college can also lead to more intercultural awareness. Being exposed to other cultures enables students to develop an appreciation for and openness to diversity, which helps law enforcement officers in particular better relate to their community.

And, lastly, policing is complex. Those in charge are tasked with managing million-dollar budgets, operating training academies and overseeing hundreds of personnel. Strong leaders who can bring about meaningful change in their communities are needed now more than ever, and colleges are known to create the kinds of experiences that enable students to learn what it means to be a leader. 

In short, our state’s technical colleges are in a unique position to help law enforcement acquire the skills they need to not only do their job to the best of their ability but to build trust with the communities they are sworn to serve and protect.

Technical colleges like Tri-County are also in a unique position to bring diverse groups of people together to proactively discuss community issues and emerging law enforcement topics. Over the past eight months, we have initiated conversations between community leaders and law enforcement officials in Anderson County, Oconee County and Pickens County. We are also working with the Creating a Safer Upstate initiative to develop a series of community forums in the tri-county region that will allow residents and local law enforcement officials to come together and have a dialogue about what’s working well and what needs to be improved. If successful, these community forums could be replicated in other parts of the Upstate.

We are encouraged by the conversations we have had so far with community leaders and law enforcement officials and believe that the Upstate is on the right path to creating a safer community, a community where we work together to solve problems, a community where people respect and value the lives of all residents and law enforcement officers. These are goals we all share, and they are goals that can be achieved through the transformative power of education.

Galen DeHay, Ph.D., is president of Tri-County Technical College, a public, two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties in South Carolina. He is the fourth president to lead the college, which boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities.