Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Get to Know the South Carolina Office for Healthcare Workforce



Did you know that nurse practitioners are the fastest growing licensed health profession in South Carolina (Figure 1)? Or that in more than a third of South Carolina counties, the growth of physicians isn’t keeping up with population (Figure 2)? Data such as these are available thanks largely to the South Carolina Office for Healthcare Workforce.

The South Carolina Office for Healthcare Workforce, or OWH, is a statewide resource that studies the issues affecting the balance of supply and demand for different types of health professionals in South Carolina. Its mission is to develop accurate, reliable information about the state’s healthcare workforce and to make that information widely available to support planning and policy decisions. It routinely disseminates reports, maps and data briefs, as well as the South Carolina Health Professions Data Book

The OHW was established in 2009 as a program within the South Carolina AHEC program office in Charleston with funding from The Duke Endowment. In 2016, OHW became a permanent statewide resource when South Carolina AHEC received recurring funding from the South Carolina Legislature to support OHW’s ongoing work.

In 2019, Katie Gaul came onboard as director of the OHW as Linda Lacey, the founding director, prepared for retirement after 10 years of service to the state. Katie leads the OHW team in identifying, gathering, analyzing and reporting data to create a better understanding of the current supply of nurses, physicians, pharmacists, dentists and other health professionals in South Carolina. OHW investigates how the supply of professionals may change in the future based on the education pipeline and changing health system and informs estimates of demand based on employment patterns, practice characteristics, and needs of the population.

The OHW team works closely with state agencies such as the Office of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, SC DHEC’s Office for Primary Care, and the SC Department of Health and Human Services, as well as educational programs, employers and others to develop the information South Carolina stakeholders need to make informed policy decisions related to the healthcare workforce. As time and resources permit, the team also works with partners, such as the South Carolina EMS Association, on profession-specific studies.

Do you have a healthcare workforce question you would like studied or data you are seeking? The OHW team is always available as a resource for those looking at the state of the healthcare workforce. Reach out to the OHW team at scohw@musc.edu for more information.

Find OHW reports, maps, data briefs and more online at www.scohw.org, and sign up for the OHW e-news list to be notified of new data and reports as they are released. 

2019 Regional Highlight: Lowcountry AHEC


Lowcountry AHEC partnered with the SC Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative of the Department of Mental Health and held 3 suicide screening continuing education events, reaching approximately 200 participants. In addition, 29 counselors and psychologists were trained as trainers using the Mental Health America of South Carolina curriculum. These trainers used the toolkits to teach and counsel teachers and students. Evaluations show that approximately half of the counselors had used one or more parts of the curriculum successfully.


Visit Lowcountry AHEC's website to find out more about their continuing professional development programs.

2019 Regional Highlight: Mid-Carolina AHEC


Mid-Carolina AHEC’s Health Careers Program provided 1,291 hours of academic advising, online modules, mentoring, health careers programs/training and service learning opportunities to 67 students from 18 high schools in the 11-county region.  Participating high school seniors who complete at least 100 hours of programming were eligible to enroll in the Certified Nurse Assistant Training Program (CNATP).  Since 2013, 27 HCP students have completed the CNATP and worked in healthcare while completing their undergraduate degree.

Visit Mid-Carolina AHEC's website to find out more about their Health Careers Program.

2019 Regional Highlight: Pee Dee AHEC


Pee Dee AHEC’s Health Careers Program has grown tremendously to offer more opportunities to high school and college students in its 12-county region. New initiatives include partnering with work-based learning programs, coordinating and instructing health career structured programs, hosting field experiences, participating in 12 career fairs, and establishing eight regional internships. In an effort to broaden pipeline initiatives, partnerships now include six middle schools, 23 high schools, four regional technical colleges, five universities, and three transition-to-employment programs. 

Visit Pee Dee AHEC's website to find out more about their Health Careers Program.

2019 Regional Highlight: Upstate AHEC


Upstate AHEC started offering blended learning programs in early 2018. These popular courses allow healthcare professionals to get clinical experience with expert instructors while spending less time in the classroom. Participants complete a didactic lecture and pass a test online ahead of time and then attend a hands-on demonstration and check-off in the lab with a qualified instructor. Upstate AHEC offers blended learning opportunities for a variety of professions in topic areas such as IV Therapy, Medication Administration and Tracheostomy Care and continues to grow this area of offerings.

Visit Upstate AHEC's website to find out more about their continuing education programs.