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New task force to address health and environmental concerns

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A new task force made up of state education, medical and advocacy leaders will work to improve health and environmental services in South Carolina.

The Task Force to Strengthen the Health and Promote the Environment of South Carolina will examine the current organizational structure of health and environmental services and look for ways to maximize effectiveness and efficiency, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. The task force, to be chaired by former state senator Larry Martin, will make recommendations to the Board of Health and Environmental Control, the S.C. General Assembly and the governor.

“Creating this task force is critical to receiving the diverse feedback needed to improve the future of health and environmental services in our state and is a very important step in helping us achieve this shared goal, which will ultimately impact the entire state,” Edward Simmer, DHEC director, said in the release. “SHaPE SC has some of the most intelligent, innovative, and thoughtful minds South Carolina has to offer.”

The task force, which will also include leaders from the state’s health and environmental agencies, includes three subcommittees: environmental protection, health, and mental health and substance abuse. Its first meeting took place Thursday at the Pastides Alumni Center.  

 “I applaud the collaborative efforts of DHEC and members of this task force which is critical to the future of health and environmental services in our state,” Martin said. “This type of objective approach to quality improvement is exactly what is needed at this time. I look forward to working with all of the community leaders represented on SHaPE SC.”

All recommendations drafted by subcommittees and approved by the task force will be submitted to the board for review no later than Nov. 10, according to the release. The task force will exist until Dec. 31 unless it is extended.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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