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SC School Boards Association Honors Prisma Health for Partnership with Richland One

The South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) honored Prisma Health with a Champions for Public Education Award in recognition of its support for and longtime partnership with Richland One.

SCSBA President Cheryl Burgess presented the award to Vince Ford, Prisma Health’s senior vice president of community affairs, at the June 22 Richland One Board of School Commissioners meeting. Ford is a former Richland One school board member and a member of the district’s Hall of Fame.

The Champions for Public Education Award is presented to community residents, organizations or local businesses/industries whose support of and contributions to public education have significantly benefited the school district or public schools statewide.

To receive the SCSBA Champions for Public Education Award, recipients must meet the following criteria: 

  • show leadership in support of ongoing or special programs authorized by the school board;

  • demonstrate, through actions, pride for the school district and effectively work for the betterment of the schools in the district as a whole or for public schools statewide;

  • understand public education’s importance to a democratic society and actively inspire;

  • support for quality public schools within the community or state; and

  • make a difference for the entire school district or schools statewide 

The partnership between Prisma Health and Richland One serves as a model for other school districts and community partners in our state.

“Prisma Health and its employees give time, dedication and resources to ensure that Richland One public school students are prepared for learning … we want them to know that their work does not go unnoticed,” said SCSBA President Cheryl Burgess.

In nominating Prisma Health for the award, the Richland One Board of School Commissioners noted that Prisma Health has proven to be an advocate and supporter of many district initiatives. Most recently, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prisma Health immediately joined forces with Richland One in an effort to provide human and technical support for COVID-19 prevention and education.

These efforts were most evident through the following efforts:

  • Providing on-site COVID-19 testing for students and employees, covering 52 schools and administrative offices

  • Dispatching the Prisma Health Mobile Unit to provide COVID-19 testing and prevention education throughout the district

  • Providing “in-district” community-based COVID-19 testing for parents/guardians, residents and senior citizens residing within the district's attendance zone

  • Offering Richland One “Preferred Days” – drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinics for district employees

  • Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies such as masks, sanitizer, gloves and more

  • Hosting town hall meetings benefiting the Richland One community

Also, Prisma Health's senior clinical and community health services executives consulted weekly with the district's administration, providing up-to-date briefings and advisement regarding COVID-19 response and best prevention strategies. This collaboration was beneficial as the Richland One school board and administration made critical decisions regarding school opening phases, applications and modalities.

“As you can see, Prisma Health is deeply invested in public education and the role public education plays in this community,” said Richland One Board Chairman Aaron Bishop.

The partnership with Richland One goes back to 1998 when what is now Prisma Health-Midlands made a commitment to return to the community 10% of its annual “excess revenues over expenses to fund public health initiatives and community outreach programs.” Prisma Health's faithfulness in carrying out this responsibility has truly made a difference for local school districts in the Midlands and across the state. Over the 20-plus years of community health involvement, these programs and services have enhanced the physical, emotional and spiritual health of all individuals and communities within the Prisma Health footprint.  

Prisma Award

The South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) honored Prisma Health with a Champions for Public Education Award in recognition of its support for and longtime partnership with Richland One. Pictured are (from left) SCSBA President-elect and Richland One Board of School Commissioners member Jamie L. Devine; Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon; Vince Ford, Prisma Health’s senior vice president of community affairs; SCSBA President Cheryl Burgess; and Richland One Board Chairman Aaron Bishop.