The University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health has launched the Arnold School of Public Health Community Health Worker Institute to improve health in communities throughout the state and region. With funding from the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation, the Institute will provide training and support for community health workers and the health care and community organizations that employ and interact with these professionals.
“South Carolina and most southeastern states are facing a critical shortage of health-educated workers who are willing and able to enter our medically underserved and often rural communities to assist patients with proper adherence to medically prescribed care. Community health workers teach individuals and families about the importance of proper nutrition, physical activity, children’s vaccinations and the many things they can do to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease,” said Dr. Thomas Chandler, dean of the Arnold School. “Community health workers often become the most impactful ambassadors for ‘wellness’ in underserved communities. I am so excited that Julie Smithwick and her partners received this generous support from the Foundation.”
“This model involves supporting leaders from within communities to serve as community health workers who are partnered with health and social service organizations, but who are more importantly rooted and vetted within the community itself,” said Ms. Julie Smithwick, executive director and founder of PASOs, who transitioned to leading the Institute on March 1.Friday Letter Submission