SC Rural Health Action Plan


On behalf of the South Carolina Rural Health Action Plan Steering Committee, Task Force, and Workgroup Chairs, we are thrilled to present the culmination of a nearly 18-month long journey : the South Carolina Rural Health Action Plan. The release of the full plan is an exciting milestone; however,  the work is only just beginning. The way forward is to work collectively at the state and local levels to begin solving the challenges faced by our rural communities. While individually our health care providers, human service agencies, businesses, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations have done a tremendous job, we acknowledge that it will take all of us working together to ensure that our rural residents have access to all of the resources and services they need to live healthy, productive lives. The South Carolina Rural Health Action Plan aims to provide context for where this work may have the most impact, and where connections and overlap occur to make the collective load lighter.


By releasing the plan on National Rural Health Day, November 16th, 2017, our intention is to raise awareness of the interconnectedness among and between the issues rural communities face on a day to day basis, especially as they relate to health. Our hope is that on National Rural Health Day 2022, we will celebrate our collective accomplishments through the plan, and more importantly, healthier rural communities in South Carolina.


For more information about the Rural Health Action Plan, please email

South Carolina Rural Health Action Plan (SC RHAP) Overview

Guiding Principles:

  • Develop a comprehensive framework containing actionable strategies to enhance rural health outcomes over the next 3-5 years by creating a shared vision and set of action steps to improve rural health in South Carolina.

  • Provide an avenue for South Carolina’s rural communities to have better, more coordinated access to available resources and a better understanding of their needs at the state level.

  • Promote shared accountability between SCORH, and its partner, and rural communities for moving the needle in South Carolina’s rural communities.


Theoretical Framework:


The Socioecological Model of Health will guide the development of the SC RHAP including three areas of focus:

  • Community and Environmental Factors

  • Health Behaviors

  • Access to and Availability of Health Services


Further, the SC RHAP will be informed by three distinct areas of engagement:


  • Epidemiological Datascrhap

    • Focused on unique indicators and factors specific to rural South Carolina

    • Led by Cassie Odahowski


  • Expert Task Force

    • Statewide group of rural thought leaders tasked with providing input into development of the plan

    • Led by Forrest Alton


  • Community Listening Sessions

    • Designed to elicit input on the priority areas and potential actionable strategies using a mixed methods approach

    • Led by Melinda Merrell



August 2016 – Inaugural SC RHAP Task Force Meeting Occurred
September 2016-April 2017 – SC RHAP Task Force Continued to Meet
October 2016 – April 2017 – Community Listening Sessions

April-May 2017 – Press Conference to Unveil Recommendations to SC State House Members

Summer 2017 – Further Development, Writing & Production of SC RHAP for Distribution
November 16, 2017 – SCORH/SC RHAP Task Force Unveiled Final Plan on National Rural Health Day