Legislative Staff Participate in Health Policy Fellows Program

On December 9, 2014, the Institute of Medicine and Public Health’s (IMPH) Health Policy Fellows Program offered a one day session for legislative staff of the South Carolina General Assembly.  This offering, entitled “Improving Health in South Carolina – Challenges and Opportunities,” afforded legislative staff the opportunity to view health in its broadest sense as a driver in other policy areas that should be considered in all policies.  Through presentations and facilitated discussion with South Carolina experts, legislative staff were informed about our nation’s health outcomes and the unique health challenges facing our state.  They were able to see how health outcomes are shaped by social determinants and to understand how policy, systems and environmental change provide the most significant impact on improving population health.

“The value of this program is that it offers the opportunity for participants to receive unbiased, nonpartisan information on the health challenges facing our state,” said Kester Freeman, executive director of IMPH.  “This particular session allowed staff from both the House and Senate to look at issues together, building collective understanding of the problems and potential solutions.”

The keynote address was provided by Ms. Renee Romberger, Vice-President, Community Health Policy and Strategy, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.  Other speakers offering their perspectives on improving health outcomes included Dr. Francis Rushton, a physician and senior partner at Beaufort Pediatrics and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the USC School of Medicine, Dr. Laura Long, Chief Medical Officer and Vice-President for Clinical Innovation at Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC, and Mr. Richard (Dick) Wilkerson, IMPH board member and retired Chairman and President of Michelin North America.

Staff of the General Assembly who participated included:

  • Ryan Burnaugh, Health Research Analyst, Ways and Means Committee
  • Mary Denis Cauthen, Director of Research, House Medical Affairs Committee
  • Ava Brumfield, Research Assistant, House Medical Affairs Committee
  • Pierce McNair, Director of Research, House Education Committee
  • Angie Willis, Senior Budget Analyst (Health Care), Senate Finance Committee
  • Grant Gibson, Senior Budget Analyst (Education), Senate Finance Committee
  • Sarah Gilbert, Research Assistant, Senate Banking and Insurance Committee
  • Lisa Sox, Director of Research, Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee
  • Mason Thomas, Director of Research, Senate General Committee
  • Lisa Dial, Director of Research, Senate Corrections and Penology Committee
  • Ben Twilley, Majority Research Director, SC Senate
  • Ken Harris, Minority Research Assistant, SC Senate

Funding for the Health Policy Fellows Program is provided by The Duke Endowment and Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina.

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