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Impact Story

South Carolina Office of Rural Health: Blueprint for Health

Improving Rural Health

Blueprint for Health has been an ongoing key initiative of the Foundation. It is committed to improving the health of South Carolina’s rural residents by addressing the social determinants of health unique to these rural areas through local collaborative efforts.

About the Organization

Since 1991, the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH) has been working to close the gap of health status and life expectancy between rural and urban communities by focusing on rural health needs and connecting available assets with community needs.

About the Grant

This grant, originally awarded in 2015, supported two communities, Dillon and Marion counties, to engage and connect people and partners across various sectors to decrease health risk causes. One of the key lessons learned during Blueprint’s first phase was that engaging community stakeholders and leaders was a key component of making progress.

Building on this, a new phase began in fall 2017 to engage a total of 12 communities and their leaders. In this phase, three 18-month learning collaborative cohorts will focus on leadership development and multi-sector collaboration. Each community will:

  • Develop and implement community projects addressing the root causes of poor health
  • Create a long-term vision, or Blueprint, for community-wide health

Why it was Funded

The Foundation is committed to improving the health disparities of rural counties while supporting existing efforts that are locally determined, culturally relevant and data-informed.

Poverty influences health, and the average poverty rate is 23.5% in rural counties compared to 17% in urban counties.

Project Results

Five communities were selected for the inaugural cohort. Each community has completed the leadership development component and is currently working on developing its community projects. The five community coalitions selected were:

  • Eat Smart Move More Barnwell County
  • Lancaster County’s Coalition for Healthy Youth
  • Lee County’s Rural Leadership and Interagency Council
  • Healthy Oconee
  • Rural Area Leadership Initiative (RALI) Dillon County

Ongoing Support

A key goal of this initiative is to build the capacity of these communities to apply for and receive state, regional and national grants to support initiatives highlighted in their Blueprint for Health. Each community will pursue ongoing support for efforts started through this learning collaborative.