Behavioral Health Task Force

The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH) convened a taskforce comprised of behavioral health professionals and stakeholders from across South Carolina to address a set of priority areas related to improving care and outcomes to better serve our residents with behavioral health illnesses. The taskforce mission was to create lasting improvements in our state’s system of behavioral health services and supports by developing and recommending cost-effective, actionable solutions to existing challenges. The Behavioral Health Taskforce envisioned an integrated and fiscally sustainable system of high quality, cost-effective and accessible behavioral health services and supports for South Carolinians who need them.

The Behavioral Health Taskforce was chaired by Kester S. Freeman, Jr., Executive Director of IMPH. Dr. Gerald Wilson served as the liaison to the IMPH Board of Directors. A Steering Committee identified the need for two committees to more fully investigate specific issues: Integrated Care and Community Resources. These committees identified potential solutions by examining best and promising practices from our state and others. Committees researched their respective focal areas and made recommendations to the Steering Committee about how to improve behavioral health and related health care services in South Carolina. Along with overseeing the work of these committees, the Steering Committee also addressed the issues of access to behavioral health services and the need for more behavioral health professionals. The recommendations approved by the Steering Committee and the Board of Directors of IMPH are actionable and their implementation will be advanced by key stakeholders.

Behavioral Health Implementation Leadership Council

Following the successful release of the final report in May of 2015, IMPH established a Behavioral Health Implementation Leadership Council (ILC). The role of the Behavioral Health ILC was to prioritize recommendations of the taskforce; provide the vision for how the recommendations will be achieved; keep continued, focused attention on recommendations; eliminate or minimize barriers to implementation; connect and mobilize stakeholders; promote and track progress related to implementation of taskforce recommendations and inform the content of an annual written report of progress towards implementation. The Behavioral Health ILC was chaired by Kester S. Freeman, Jr., Executive Director of IMPH. The Board liaison was Dr. Gerald Wilson.

Members of the Behavioral Health ILC were:

  • Kester S. Freeman, Jr., Executive Director, IMPH and Behavioral Health ILC Chair
  • Alison Evans, Chair, SC Mental Health Commission
  • Sara Goldsby, Acting Director, SC Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services
  • Thornton Kirby, President and CEO, SC Hospital Association
  • Pete Liggett, Deputy Director for Long Term Care and Behavioral Health, SC Department of Health and Human Services
  • John Magill, Director, SC Department of Mental Health
  • Gloria Prevost, Executive Director, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc.
  • Bryan Stirling, Director, SC Department of Corrections

In August 2017, the work of the ILC was folded into the SC Behavioral Health Coalition (BHC) and their leadership team. IMPH continues to support the BHC and participates on the Executive Leadership Team, the Core Leadership Team and each committee of the BHC.

Please contact Maya Pack for more information on the Behavioral Health Taskforce or ILC.


Hope for Tomorrow: The Collective Approach for Transforming South Carolina’s Behavioral Health Systems

Behavioral Health Taskforce Brief

The “Taskforce Brief” provides a short overview of the work and recommendations published in the full report of the Behavioral Health...