In its latest grant award cycle, the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation awarded $2.6 million in grants to health care-related organizations, including assistance to address childhood obesity, the lack of dental services for low-income residents and the need for nurse practitioners in rural areas.
MUSC's College of Nursing was awarded a $250,000 grant to support enrollment of an estimated 70 doctorate-prepared nurse practitioners to increase primary care nurse practitioners in rural South Carolina.
Since it was established in 2003, the foundation has allocated more than $40.4 million to address childhood health, community health, mental health, obesity, diabetes, nursing and rural area primary care, as well as health research conducted within the state.
The foundation has two grant cycles a year. In addition to the college, other grant recipients were: Greenville County School District; Williamsburg County School District; S.C. Eat Smart Move More; Classy Smiles, Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties; East Cooper Community Outreach; Family Services of South Carolina; First Steps of Charleston County in partnership with S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control; Healthy Learners; Greenville County EMS; Medical Mission 2012; United Ministries; and Anderson University.
According to the foundation's executive director Harvey Galloway, South Carolina ranks fifth in pre-term births and fourth in low-birth weight babies.
"In Williamsburg County, more than half of the students are overweight or obese, and in Greenville County that number is nearly 60 percent. The primary reason for hospital readmissions in Greenville County is lack of ability to obtain prescription medications. Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties have some of the country's highest prevalence of heart disease, strokes, obesity, diabetes and infant mortality. We rank 43rd in the number of practicing primary care physicians, 41st in the number of physician assistants and 35th in the number of nurse practitioners."
Galloway commends the recipients of the grants for the good work they are doing. "We hope our foundation grants will help make a difference."