Posts from: November, 2015
November 14, 2015 Categories: Initiative
In a state that has long had one of the nation’s highest rates of heart disease and cancer, Spartanburg County has had one of the highest rates of heart disease and cancer in South Carolina. While there are many factors that contribute to heart disease and cancer, tobacco use is a primary culprit. That’s why so much effort has been focused on reducing smoking over the past several years. And those efforts are starting to show some results.
Many people who have untreated behavioral health issues wind up in much worse situations than they would have if only they had been able to access basic care and medication earlier. They bounce between the emergency room, the street, and the jail. Spartanburg County, behind the leadership of the United Way of the Piedmont, is tackling the issue in a way few communities are.
53 percent in seven years. If you follow the news in Spartanburg closely, you’ve probably heard those numbers before and you might know what they mean. But whether you do or not, they are so remarkable and so important, the news bears repeating:
Since 2008, teen births in Spartanburg have fallen by 53 percent.
If the transformation of an entire community happens one changed life at a time, ground zero for Spartanburg’s effort to improve the health of its citizens might just be, of all places, the county jail. And a soft-spoken man named Dwight Rice who used to be held there might just be the effort’s poster child.
Not long ago, if you lived in Spartanburg’s Northside or any one of several other high-poverty neighborhoods around Spartanburg County, preparing a healthy meal would have been a major chore. Not the actual cooking. Just being able to find and purchase anything resembling fresh produce. For far too many Spartanburg residents, this would have required an impractically long walk or an expensive cab ride to the nearest full-service grocery store.