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To enable our partners, faith based organizations, and communities to address the holistic health of families in South Carolina. 
March/April 2021
In This Issue:
A Message from the Director
COVID-19 Public Outreach and Education Communication Campaign
April is National Minority Health Month

Mothers Eliminating Secondhand Smoke
South Carolina Tobacco Quitline
South Carolina and Opioids
Interfaith Community Services of SC
One year later, after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 an outbreak pandemic and after the loss of nearly 9,000 lives in South Carolina, we continue to experience COVID-19.    Also, one year later, we continue to recognize the severe impact the coronavirus has had on racial and ethnic minority populations, especially the American Indian/Alaskan Native communities.  One year later, vaccines are now available to help save lives.  With more than one million already receiving vaccines, the need for continued education about the coronavirus, vaccines, and adherence to public health guidelines is paramount for everyone and especially all vulnerable minority populations.   

An upcoming opportunity for outreach and education is National Minority Health Month in April.  This year’s theme is #VaccineReady.  Other factors to be addressed include poverty, food deserts, crowded housing, lack of health insurance, lack of employment that not only make minorities vulnerable to COVID-19, but to another serious disease, cancer.  This e-newsletter advocates for:
  1. knowing more about the impact of the inequities and similarities in the disproportionate risk of racial/ethnic populations between COVID-19 and cancer, 
  2. adhering to mandates to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and 
  3. utilizing trusted resources to provide tobacco health education and outreach activities to prevent illness and death. 
COVID-19 Public Outreach and Education Communication Campaign
We’re here for you!  In partnership with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, HOTL is available to provide education and technical assistance to you so that your faith-based leaders, congregational members, and community residents receive trusted up-to-date education and information about the COVID-19 virus and vaccines, provide personal protective equipment (PPE), and other educational resources.  Please call our office at (803) 461-3201 to schedule a session for your region, district, association, and/or congregation.   
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April is National Minority Health Month
Celebrated every year in April, National Minority Health Month builds awareness about the disproportionate burden of premature death and illness in minority populations and encourages action through health education, early detection, and control of disease complications.
The origin of National Minority Health Month is in the 1915 establishment of National Negro Health Week by Booker T. Washington. In 2002, National Minority Health Month received support from the U.S. Congress with a concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 388) that “a National Minority Health and Health Disparities Month should be established to promote educational efforts on the health problems currently facing minorities and other health disparity populations.” The resolution encouraged “all health organizations and Americans to conduct appropriate programs and activities to promote healthfulness in minority and other health disparity communities.”
It was just one year ago that the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 an outbreak pandemic and it has impacted communities of color significantly.  Nationally, African Americans and American Indians/Alaskan Natives have died from the coronavirus at a rate almost one and a half (1.5) more times than Whites.   We know minorities are more likely to get infected, be hospitalized, and to die from COVID-19.  
One year later, nearly 9,000 lives have been lost due to the coronavirus in South Carolina (SC).  In SC, as of March 7, 2021, Hispanic/Latino people were most likely to have contracted the disease, while African/American people were more likely to have died.
We know there appear to be disparities in who is getting vaccinated.  Whites make up approximately 67% of the state’s population and represent almost the same percentage of vaccine doses. African Americans make up approximately 27% of the state’s population and represent only 12.5% of vaccine doses.  Latinas make up almost 6% of the state’s population and represent less than 2% of vaccine doses.
This year’s National Minority Health Month theme is #VaccineReady.  As we continue to experience COVID-19 and recognize its severe impact on racial and ethnic minority populations, especially the American Indian/Alaskan Native communities, the need for continued education about the coronavirus, vaccines, and adherence to public health guidelines is paramount for everyone and especially all vulnerable minority populations.   Consider the following to prevent unwanted hospitalizations and deaths:
Get Vaccinated.  Getting vaccinated can help prevent getting sick with COVID-19. Vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson Vector) are now available to help save lives.  Call the DHEC COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line (1-866-365-8110)
Wear Face Masks.  COIVD-19 is an illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person.  Wearing a mask protects you, as well as others from contracting the virus.

Practice Social/Physical Distancing.  Limiting close face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
Washing Hands.  Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from respiratory and diarrheal infections.  Germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:
  • Touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands.
  • Touch a contaminated surface or objects.
  • Blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects.
Cancer and COVID-19
The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to opportunities to address the barriers faced by minorities not only relating to health care, but to society as well.  Cancer inequities result from many factors including social determinants of health, behavior, biology, and genetics. The United States Department of Health and Human Services defines these social determinants of health as the conditions in the environment where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that affect health, functioning, and quality of life.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities tend to receive lower quality health care than Whites. They have higher death rates, with the largest disparities for the most preventable cancers.
  • African-Americans have the highest cancer death rates and shortest cancer survival rates than any other racial/ethnic group in the United States. One-third of African-Americans experience racial discrimination at a health care provider visit.
  • Despite lower incidence rates, African-American women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than White women overall and twice as likely to die from it if over age 50. Hispanic women have the highest rate of cervical cancer than other racial/ethnic women and almost 35 percent higher than whites.
  • Residentially segregated African-American communities contribute to 70 percent of cancer-related health disparities, including later stage diagnosis, high mortality, and lower survivability for breast and lung cancer. 
  • African-Americans without private health insurance receive less chemotherapy and comprehensive treatment for colon cancer.
  • The LGBTQ community experiences access barriers to adequate health care resulting in a higher disproportionate burden of cancer. 
  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine coverage among adolescents is 15 percent lower in rural areas than urban areas (41%, 56%).
There are many similarities in the disproportionate risk of racial/ethnic populations between COVID-19 and cancer. 
  1. There is a two-fold higher rate of hospitalizations and a two-fold higher rate for deaths for both diseases. 
  2. There are lower survivability rates and a higher risk of acquiring and dying from both diseases.
  3. Cultural distrust of health care providers and the medical profession adversely impact early diagnosis and treatment regimens for both diseases.
  4. The social disadvantages experienced by minorities factor significantly in the inequitable impact of both diseases. These factors include the level of educational attainment, lifestyle factors, health comorbidities (underlying health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure), limited access to health care, living environment, and high-risk working conditions. 
  5. Physical and cultural isolation reinforce the lack of access to health care, especially when early diagnosis and treatment can impact survivability. Rural, culturally isolated, and impoverished minority populations lack the medical resources and services to respond to health care emergencies.
Mothers Eliminating Secondhand Smoke (M.E.S.S.)
An initiative that continues to address secondhand smoke and vaping toxins, M.E.S.S. is designed to ensure the overall well-being of women and children through voluntary tobacco-free homes, tobacco-free vehicles, and policy adoption within the faith community.

M.E.S.S. is a collaborative effort between Hold Out the Lifeline: A Mission to Families and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.  The overall purpose is to build an advocacy network among faith-based organizations and other appropriate settings to promote clean air for everyone.
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South Carolina Tobacco Quitline
FREE nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges are available to eligible South Carolinians who enroll in Quitline services.



  • Free one-on-one coaching (phone or web-based counseling and support) to quit smoking
  • Development of a personalized quit plan
Learn More
South Carolina and Opioids
Opioid use disorder and opioid overdoses are at epidemic levels in the United States today, and opioid misuse also creates secondary public health impacts by increasing demand on our first responders, law enforcement and healthcare agencies.
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Interfaith Community Services of South Carolina
The Interfaith Community Services of South Carolina's vision is a united faith community improving the quality of life in South Carolina by working together to build strong families and health.

To ensure children have access to nutritious meals and snacks, the Interfaith Community Services of South Carolina can provide reimbursement for qualifying meals and snacks and so much more.

The Interfaith Community Services of South Carolina serves the following counties: Abbeville, Aiken, Anderson, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chester, Clarendon, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lee, Lexington, Oconee, Orangeburg, Pickens, Richland, Saluda, Spartanburg, and Sumter.

To learn more, contact them at 803-252-8390.

Need Further Assistance? Contact Us:
website:     phone: 803-461-3201
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