Wilkerson: Investing in S.C.’s health care workforce 

The needs of South Carolina’s health care industry are ever-changing. Our state must work towards eliminating health disparities currently experienced by rural and minority populations by strengthening the health care workforce within a values-based system of care.

How can we achieve this? The most efficient route is to start with the thousands of South Carolinans who make up our current workforce. Members of the health and human services workforce need to be empowered to perform as highly adaptive change agents, able to evolve with the pace of care delivery innovations and demands. Investing the time, resources, and research needed to transform the current and future workforce is key to improving overall population health throughout the Palmetto State.

In my decades of experience in business leadership, I can tell you that a healthy and empowered workforce in any industry will only lead to a more motivated and productive workforce.

Over the last year, I have been proud to help the  South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health (IMPH) lead these efforts by developing the Workforce for Health Taskforce and its report: The Evolving Health Workforce: Redefining Care Delivery in South Carolina.

Over the course of the last year, the taskforce has worked to recommend state specific policy changes and solutions that would create a sustainable and person-centered system of care in South Carolina.

The culmination of their research and collaborations with organizations like the South Carolina Hospital Association and the formed Prisma Health (formerly Greenville Health Systems and Palmetto Health) has been published in their recently released taskforce report. The report offers 16 tangible solutions on how elected officials as well as public and private stakeholders can invest and innovate and help move toward a more community-based approach to delivering care throughout South Carolina.

With the release of this report and related emerging work, South Carolina is well-positioned to be a national leader in population health. We invite you to learn more about how you can join our broader, collective work towards innovative statewide changes by visiting imph.org.

Wilkerson retired as the chairman and president of Michelin North America in 2011. He currently serves as a board member for the South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health (IMPH), is the co-chair of IMPH’s South Carolina Health Care Workforce, and serves on the board of directors of Prisma Health.