Eat Smart Move More SC, South Carolina Office of Rural Health receive funding to collaborate on community health initiative

Eat Smart Move More SC (ESMMSC) and the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH) received a grant from the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, for a collaborative project to improve the health of South Carolina’s economically vulnerable citizens.

The project will expand upon the current work of both agencies to address the root causes of poor health outcomes across the state. ESMMSC and SCORH each have a strong track record of using a coalition-driven approach to effect health transformation in local communities. The two agencies collectively work with coalitions in 38 counties across South Carolina.

“We know that the health of a community is about more than the medical care received in a doctor’s office or hospital. The social determinants of health – food access, opportunities for recreation and exercise, safe housing, employment and other factors – also play a role in the well-being of a community,” said Darlene Lynch, SCORH’s director of community health transformation. “SCORH and ESMMSC are excited to deepen our partnership and serve rural communities as they work to elevate their overall health status.”

The grant will support this work for four years across the state. The primary components of this project will be the creation of a technical assistance model that includes scalable training and coaching, and capacity building and financial support for urban and rural coalitions across the state to improve population health.

“Over the years, our organizations found that our work increasingly overlapped, so in 2020, ESMMSC and SCORH began conversations to create a formal partnership and establish a collaborative project,” said ESMMSC’s Executive Director Meg Stanley. “We both view this as an opportunity to leverage the expertise and resources of ESMMSC and SCORH to create greater impact and to be a model of collaboration for local communities and state partners.”

This initiative will build off the successes of SCORH’s Blueprint for Health program and ESMMSC’s Let’s Go 3.0 mini-grant initiatives that also were funded by the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation.

• Blueprint for Health allowed SCORH to offer funding of up to $25,000 to 12 communities to bring together rural community leaders from multiple sectors to collaborate on solutions to the root causes for poor health and build capacity at the local level to solve community health issues.
• Let’s Go 3.0 mini grants offered funding of up to $5,000 each for projects that increased access to healthy foods and safe places for physical activity through policy, systems and environmental change projects.

About Eat Smart, Move More SC: ESMMSC is a statewide organization whose mission is to provide communities with proven and sustainable approaches that lead to increased access to healthy choices for all people. The organization’s approach includes promoting healthy eating, active living as a key component of public health; informing, engaging and influencing decision-makers to include health in policy decisions; providing support at the local level, through a network of 26 chapters, for communities to achieve healthy change; and championing equity.

About the South Carolina Office of Rural Health: SCORH is a non-profit organization with a mission to close the gap in health status and life expectancy between rural and urban communities in the Palmetto State. SCORH has been promoting investment, opportunity and health within rural communities since 1991.

With 27 percent of our state’s residents living in rural areas, SCORH believes in preserving the unique character of rural communities without compromising their opportunities and access to critical services.


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