To SC Obesity Prevention Partners,
With the launch of South Carolina’s Obesity Action Plan in the fall of last year, a new phase of obesity prevention work began in our state. That focused work, which is being conducted through the SCale Down Initiative, formally began at the beginning of this year. With the first quarter of work now complete, this update highlights the activities and successes that have already occurred.
As many of you know, SCale Down is a collaborative initiative that connects and engages partners to achieve the objectives outlined in the state’s Obesity Action Plan and helps eliminate duplication of efforts. The structure of this initiative includes an Action Team (leadership group), Evaluation Team and four workgroups representing the specific settings of the plan. The SC Institute of Medicine and Public Health is leading this initiative in partnership with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control. The following diagram depicts the organizational structure for the SCale Down Initiative:
Moving the Needle on Obesity
The Action Team meets on a quarterly basis, guiding the initiative and serving as the collective decision-making body for the over-all effort. The Action Team had its formative meeting in November of last year and held its first full meeting in January. The four workgroups bring focused attention to the objectives of the Obesity Action Plan through each of the defined settings: Community, Healthcare, Schools & Child Care, and Worksites. The purpose of the workgroups is to ensure progress is made in achieving the action plan objectives and to promote information sharing and collaboration among partners. Formative meetings of each of the workgroups were held in February, and a stakeholder briefing for all workgroup participants was held in March. The Evaluation Team offers broad oversight to measuring progress of SCale Down and provides a framework for monitoring and evaluation of the Obesity Action Plan. To date, the Evaluation Team has had two formative meetings (December 2014 and January 2015). In support of the evaluation and progress monitoring efforts, DHEC is taking the lead on data collection and surveillance relevant to the targeted outcomes for each objective in the plan.
The SCale Down Initiative follows a quarterly timeline of activity and plans for the second quarter are well underway. The Action Team and Evaluation Team will meet in April, and the workgroups will have individual meetings in May. The second stakeholder briefing and the release of the quarterly stakeholder update will both occur in June.
Early Success in South Carolina
SCale Down partners have been working diligently on many programs and projects that are specifically linked to the objectives of the Obesity Action Plan, and the following highlights reflect their early successes:
Creating Healthier Worksites
The new A Healthier State initiative is promoting improved health among state employees by providing comprehensive baseline worksite assessments, model policies and wellness consultation services to the S.C. Governor’s Office, all 16 cabinet agencies, DMH and DHEC. This initiative will impact almost 35,000 state employees.
Engaging the Health Care Community
The South Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants (SCAPA), with membership reaching across the state, has joined SCale Down as an active partner. On April 8, SCAPA will host a video-conference entitled: “A How-To for South Carolina Physician Assistants: Communities & Practices Join the Obesity Fight." That event will highlight the 2015 County Health Rankings and the SCale Down Initiative and provide training on the Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0 Childhood Obesity Toolkit.
Assessing Student Fitness
With the help of a $2.5 million grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, DHEC is coordinating the statewide implementation of FitnessGram. This project will allow students to set their own health goals, help school administrators to make policy choices for physical fitness and offer a place to track student-specific data. This project has the potential to reach over 740,000 public school students in SC.
The SCale Down Initiative is off to a great start, yet there is always opportunity for the involvement of key stakeholders who are vital to advancing the objectives of the Obesity Action Plan. In order for this work to be successful, it is essential for numerous partners to become involved. If you are interested in learning more about SCale Down or in getting involved in the initiative, please visit www.scaledown.org or connect via e-mail at email@example.com.