South Carolina Experts Address Food Insecurity with Launch of Learning Collaborative
April 6, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The SC Roadmap to Food Security Learning Collaborative, which launched earlier this year, is a partnership of community-based organizations and medical providers from across South Carolina. They have come together to forge new pathways toward creating greater food security for South Carolinians.
Four health care and community-based teams lead the Learning Collaborative: Partners for Active Living and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System; LiveWell Kershaw and the Community Medical Clinic of Kershaw County; LiveWell Greenville and Prisma Health; and Trident United Way and the Medical University of South Carolina. These teams represent a formidable amount of experience, talent and knowledge, and they are eager to find ways to increase food security across South Carolina.
The Learning Collaborative is part of a larger strategic effort to address the social determinants of health for South Carolinians. That effort began in 2019 and is funded by the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation in partnership with the Duke Endowment and the University of South Carolina’s Core for Applied Research and Evaluation (CARE) at the Arnold School of Public Health. HealthBegins, a national mission-driven firm, is providing guidance on applying an upstream quality improvement approach to build cross-sector capacity to address broader social and structural determinants of health.
The goal of the Learning Collaborative is to reduce food insecurity in South Carolina. The connections created and methods shared by Learning Collaborative teams will inform the work on a statewide scale.
Renee Linyard-Gary, director of health at Trident United Way, is a participant in this new Learning Collaborative. She has experience bringing disparate groups together to work toward a common goal. In her role at Trident United Way, she has tackled many community challenges, including diabetes, in a collaborative effort among hospitals, the YMCA and lifestyle coaches. Linyard-Gary seeks to “provide the greatest help to those in the greatest need,” an ethos she intends to bring to the Learning Collaborative.
Also participating in the Learning Collaborative is Beverly Wilson, executive director of FoodShare South Carolina. Founded in 2015, FoodShare is active in 10 counties and looks to expand to 34 over the next four years. Wilson credits FoodShare’s growth to the can-do attitude of the organization. “We’re writing the book as we’re reading it,” she said. The Learning Collaborative seeks to apply that action-oriented mindset over the next year.
Learning Collaborative participants acknowledge the many challenges South Carolinians face when it comes to food security. Carey Rothschild, director of Community Health for Spartanburg Regional Health System, oversees a broad range of initiatives, but sees a similar pattern among those individuals who are struggling. Rothschild said, “You hear the term ‘non-compliant,’ and it can be easy to assume why someone is not complying, but what we find is that it often masks barriers. If we can identify and remove those barriers, we will all be better off.”
About BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation
Headquartered in Columbia, the foundation is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Its mission is to promote and support healthier South Carolinians, particularly the economically vulnerable, by supporting solutions to address gaps in health care and serving as an agent of change to support innovation and value-added public-private partnerships. The foundation website can be found at www.bcbsscfoundation.org.