The South Carolina Healthy Business Challenge officially launched the Midlands Region on Wednesday, rounding out the statewide expansion of a program developed to assist businesses and organizations in establishing work environments that promote a culture of wellbeing and support a healthy, thriving workforce.
Over 100 participants at the Palmetto Club in Columbia, representing businesses of all sectors and sizes located in or near the Midlands, learned about the free new program.
Attendees were welcomed by Mike Harris, vice president of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Major Group Sales, Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann, South Carolina Chamber CEO Bob Morgan, and SC Biz News Executive Editor Jason Thomas, as SC Biz News serves as SCHBC’s media sponsor.
“I’m so grateful for the support we’ve received from our members, stakeholders and leaders who see the importance of a healthy workforce to promote a healthy economy and healthy state.” Dr. Susan Johnson, founder and director of SCHBC, said in a news release. “I believe the collective passion across all represented organizations is having a significant impact on the quality of life in South Carolina.”
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At the event Johnson, who also is the director of health promotion at the Medical University of South Carolina, provided a history and overview of the program, inviting Rozalynn Goodwin, vice president of engagement with the South Carolina Hospital Association to the stage to expand on SCHA’s 12-year strategic partnership and shared vision to build a healthy workforce in South Carolina, according to the release.
Featured speaker, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, discussed worksite well-being as an economic driver for the state of South Carolina and congratulated SCHBC and attendees for their commitment to prioritizing health at work, the release stated
Member Spotlight Wes Carter, president, Atlantic Packaging, shared how his organization prioritizes health through corporate wellness, healthy partnerships, advocacy and community and sustainability initiatives. Michelle McCullum, president and CEO, South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, rounded out the slate of speakers by inviting the business community to engage their employees in the 2023 South Carolina 7 Expedition in July.
Established in 2015 as the Charleston Healthy Business Challenge, the free, collaborative program was developed by Johnson and Paul Wieters, wellness coordinator with the City of Charleston, according to the release. MUSC had been named a Center of Excellence for the South Carolina Hospital Association’s Working Well program and Johnson saw a need for worksite wellbeing resources in the local community and an opportunity to facilitate those connections.
According to Jen Wright, director of workforce experience at the SCHA, collaboration is imperative for collective impact.
“A business committed to creating a culture, through operations, environmental supports, and resources that allow employees to thrive in health and professional fulfillment will attract and retain talented, productive, driven, and loyal employees,” she said in the release.
Since its inception, the leadership team envisioned expanding the program to create greater impact. In early 2022, with continued support from presenting sponsor BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and program sponsors Gallagher and Trident United Way Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas, the program was rebranded to the South Carolina Healthy Business Challenge with three regions, Charleston becoming the Lowcountry Healthy Business Challenge, launching the Upstate Region in Greenville in June of 2022, and finalizing the expansion with the launch the Midlands Healthy Business Challenge in Columbia.
“Our support to expand the program statewide signals the seriousness of our intent to play a role in improving the health of customers and our communities,” Harris said.