Expansion to Funded Projects to Engage Libraries in Community Healthcare

22 March 2022, Columbia, SC — The South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare (SC CRPH) announces awards to four new projects in library systems across South Carolina to increase access to high-value, quality healthcare. These new projects will expand the Libraries and Health program to increase access to health and supportive social services among underserved communities. The 2022-2023 awardees are Abbeville Public Library System (Abbeville County); Calhoun County Public Library System (Calhoun County): Marian Edelman Wright Public Library (Marlboro County); and Oconee Public Library (Oconee County). 

CRPH launched the Libraries and Health Cooperative Agreement program in October 2020, awarding five library systems across the state to support innovative projects and programs that connect public libraries with health partners to improve access to healthcare and community care.  

The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) received unprecedented funding through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High-Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Population and Rural Communities, a non-research grant funded through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021. By way of this national initiative, DHEC sub-awarded the CRPH funding to expand the Libraries and Health Cooperative Agreement Program. 

These new projects will continue to utilize public libraries as sites for community engagement in healthcare and advance health equity. The expansion of this program will further activate the currently funded Libraries and Health programs and allow for newly funded programs to address social determinants of health as they relate to COVID-19 health disparities among populations at higher risk and that are underserved. 

More about the awardees: 

Marion Wright Edelman Community Health Hub  

The hub serves to provide Marlboro County residents with health and social services in a trusted community-based setting. With a community health worker, the hub will create clinical-community linkages to increase the provision of clinical services and connection to social services to mitigate the barriers that impede residents from achieving optimal health outcomes. Project activities will also increase COVID-19 education, awareness, and vaccination rates in Marlboro County. 

Expanding Access to Healthcare in Oconee County  

Leverage library resources and community partnerships to improve access to healthcare in Oconee County. The library will provide a base for a licensed social worker/community resource assistant to deliver case management and related partnership services, which include workforce development and education, assistance with housing and childcare referrals, and working with local healthcare providers for access to care all in order to improve health countywide.   

Better Health – Abbeville, SC  

Hire a health liaison who will reach out to citizens of Abbeville County, formalize our relationships with Abbeville Area Medical Center and the United Christian Ministries of Abbeville County, and oversee our telehealth partnership with WCTEL. The new hire will also engage patrons through our new alternative space for learning and creativity.  

Collaborating to Address Critical Needs in Calhoun County  

Hire a full-time social worker to develop a referral system and provide short-term case management. The social worker will develop a comprehensive crisis management plan for the library, assist with county-wide crisis response efforts, and develop a sustainability plan for library crisis management.  

About the SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare: 

The SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare's mission is to support and develop sustainable rural and primary care education and healthcare delivery in South Carolina through clinical practice, training, and research. They do this through creating and supporting programs, collaborating with partners in South Carolina, and adopting regional and national models.   

About the Department of Health and Environmental Control: 

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is charged with promoting and protecting the health of the public and the environment in South Carolina. With more than 3,800 employees working in 100 locations across the state, our vision is healthy people living in healthy communities. 

 For more information, please email SCRuralHealthcare@uscmed.sc.edu