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The Business Narrative: Renewed Support

Jun 17, 2024 06:39AM ● By Donna Walker

TD Bank Renews Support To Help Expand Prisma Health's Black Doula Program

Prisma Health’s Black Doula Program, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at enhancing maternal and birth outcomes for Black mothers, has been renewed after a successful pilot year in which it provided invaluable support to 100 mothers throughout the birthing process.


TD Bank provided a $200,000 grant to continue the innovative program, as well as the original $125,000 grant that launched the pilot program in 2023.


With the renewed support, Prisma Health will expand the reach of the Black Doula Program, which provides essential resources and support to Black mothers across the Upstate and Midlands. 


"We are proud to continue our partnership with Prisma Health in its efforts to address maternal health disparities in South Carolina," said David Lominack, commercial market president of South Carolina, TD Bank.


Lominack added, "The impact of the Black Doula Program underscores the importance of innovative solutions in improving health equity, and we are honored to be a part of this impactful initiative."


Since its launch, the Black Doula Program has provided small grants to offset the expense of trained doulas for 100 expectant Black mothers in South Carolina.


Doulas provide essential non-medical support, including encouragement, advocacy and comfort measures before, during and after birth.


The personalized support has been shown in national studies to lead to shorter labors, fewer complications, increased success with breastfeeding and overall positive birth experiences. 


The program is expected to serve an additional 100 women in each of its second and third years. During this time, program staff hope to explore if the use of a doula is associated with lower rates of postpartum depression. 


For mothers like Jernae Webb, her doula helped her through an excruciatingly painful period of breast feeding – but also cooked meals and cared for the baby so that Webb could spend quality time with her two-year-old and seven-year-old while her husband attended to other household needs.


“Everyone wants to hold the baby, but who holds the mother? That’s what doulas do – provide unconditional support and advocacy for the mother,” said Webb, whose son, Ena, was born just after Christmas Day.


She added, “As a Black woman, I really appreciated being able to work with someone who has a shared cultural understanding. It was nice working with someone who looks like me and can also understand the different challenges Black women can face.” 


“I recommend a doula for any mother so she can feel more fully supported during birth or, as in my case, the post-partum period,” said Webb. “I would have especially loved having a doula with my first baby; I didn’t know any other new mothers at the time, and I was going through a lot of unfamiliar feelings that I didn’t feel comfortable sharing on follow-up doctor visits.” 


Webb felt so strongly about the importance of doula support that she left her corporate job to become a postpartum doula after the birth of her second child.


“It’s just incredibly rewarding work that can make a huge difference in the lives of those moms and their babies for years to come,” she said.


Dr. Kacey Eichelberger, chair of the Prisma Health Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Upstate, said, "We are thrilled to celebrate the achievements of the Black Doula Program's first successful year. This program has the potential to be a major contributor towards addressing disparities in maternal health outcomes for Black mothers in South Carolina, and we are immensely grateful for the ongoing support from the TD Charitable Foundation."


Eichelberger added, "We remain dedicated to advancing health equity and ensuring that every mother receives the care and support she deserves.”


Nationally, racial disparities in health care contribute to higher rates of illness and death among Black Americans, with Black women three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related events, said Rashana Keller, a registered nurse/clinical educator who leads the Black Doula Program at Prisma Health.


Shelley Sylva, TD's head of U.S. Corporate Citizenship, said, "We know that cultivating equitable access to maternal support is fundamental to the strength and resilience of our communities."


Sylva added, "Investing in the health, well-being and empowerment of Black mothers is investing in our future. We take great pride in supporting Prisma Health's Black Doula program.”


The program supports patients across the Prisma Health footprint by providing grants to offset the cost of doula services in the prenatal, delivery, and/or postpartum settings.


Each patient chooses her own doula. Funds are distributed from Prisma Health directly to the doula of the patient’s choice and are distributed proportionally across all birthing hospitals to ensure Black women in all communities served by Prisma Health have an opportunity to participate.


Learn more about the program at: 


Prisma Health is a private nonprofit health company and the largest health care organization in South Carolina. The company has 29,309 team members, 18 acute and specialty hospitals, 2,827 licensed beds, 305 practice sites, and more than 5,400 employed and independent clinicians across its clinically integrated inVio Health Network.

GreenGasUSA, Darling Ingredients Partner to Reduce Emissions, Repurpose Waste

GreenGasUSA and Darling Ingredients Inc. (NYSE: DAR) announced their partnership to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) and capture CO2 from the wastewater streams at Darling’s facilities in the U.S.


Officials said the collaboration is expected to result in material greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions at Darling’s facilities from the installation of gas upgrading systems, CO2 capture systems, as well as generate other beneficial co-products.


At the core of its business, Darling Ingredients champions sustainability, and GreenGasUSA is a leading producer of RNG from environmental and industrial waste streams.


Through Darling and GreenGasUSA’s collaboration they aim to accelerate the development of innovative solutions to unlock value from waste streams and deliver significant environmental benefits such as GHG reductions.


Said South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers: “The innovative collaboration between GreenGas and Darling Ingredients is evidence of the important role that the agricultural sector will play in advancing the clean energy economy."


Weathers added, "I have long been a supporter of GreenGas’s work to create renewable products from agricultural waste streams and reduce carbon emissions. And I am particularly excited about GreenGas’s CO2 capture technology that both introduces circularity into agricultural processes and creates an important raw material for producers.”


GreenGasUSA, located in Charleston, South Carolina, partners with global businesses to help reduce their environmental footprint by producing renewable natural gas and other renewable products, like carbon dioxide (CO2), clean water, and agricultural nutrients.


Its wastewater and engineering experts design and permit comprehensive biogas solutions including, biogas capture, anaerobic digestion, gas flaring, compression, transportation, and pipeline injection.


GreenGasUSA has operational RNG facilities at agricultural and food processing sources across the country, with proven success in installing, commissioning, and operating gas upgrading equipment; RNG and CO2 product compression and transportation; and existing pipeline injection infrastructure.


GreenGasUSA has five operational RNG facilities, and one CO2 facility, and is actively developing additional RNG and CO2 facilities across the U.S.

New Assistant Coach

Furman women’s basketball coach Pierre Curtis announced the hiring of Samantha Michel as an assistant coach and the program’s director of operations and the new title of director of program engagement for current staff member Grace van Rij.


“Samantha comes highly recommended from her time at VCU and Utah,” Curtis said. “Her energy and passion for the game are evident from the moment she steps into the room. She will have a tremendous impact on our program.”


Curtis added, “Grace has been such a big part of our family for the past six years, and I’m excited we get to keep her in the program. She will help take us to another level in the community and through our social media.”


Michel joins the Paladin staff after serving as a graduate assistant coach at VCU for the 2023-24 season, where she helped the Rams to the winningest campaign in program history — a 26-6 mark and invitation to the inaugural Women’s Basketball Invitational Tournament (WBIT).


Prior to her stint at VCU she spent the 2022-23 year as creative director for marketing and recruiting for the University of Utah women’s basketball program.


Michel’s four-year collegiate playing career included her freshman and sophomore seasons at Northeastern and junior and senior years at Anderson (South Carolina).


As a junior at Anderson, she was named second team All-South Atlantic Conference (SAC) and conference defensive player of the year.


She interned in 2020 with the WNBA through its “PassThaBall” campaign, creating content for social media accounts and planning brand events such as the “Who’s NXT” Jordan All-Star games.


Following her senior season she was selected to participate in the WBCA “So You Want To Be A Coach” program, a two-day workshop during the WBCA Convention and Final Four.


A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Michel secured her bachelor's degree in communications and digital media studies from Anderson in 2021 and added a master’s in organizational leadership, also from Anderson, in 2022.


Van Rij has served Furman’s women’s basketball program in three roles during her tenure at the university — as a decorated player, graduate assistant coach, and now as director of program engagement.


In uniform, the Knoxville, Tennessee, native played in 139 games, lettered all five years, and was twice selected team captain and All-Southern Conference, including her final campaign that saw her average 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.


She averaged 10.0 ppg during the 2021-22 season while helping Furman to its first 20-win campaign in over two decades. Her .502 career field goal percentage ranks seventh in Furman history.


A four-time SoCon All-Academic Team pick and five-time SoCon Academic Honor Roll selection, van Rij graduated cum laude in 2022 with a degree in communication studies and earlier this year was accorded a Master of Art in strategic design, also from Furman.

Visit Myrtle Beach’s Cyndi Mohr Receives 2024 Associate of the Year Award

Visit Myrtle Beach said Cyndi Mohr, senior sales manager, was honored with the prestigious 2024 Associate of the Year Award by the South Carolina Society of Association Executives (SCSAE) during the organization’s annual conference June 9-11, 2024, in Hilton Head, S.C.


“Cyndi has received this award based on her many years of support to SCSAE, and how she represents Myrtle Beach with pride and assists members with all their needs,” said Casey Clyburn, SCSAE executive director.


The society is dedicated to advancing the professional development of the state’s association executives through education, networking and advocacy.


Since 1996, the Associate of the Year Award has recognized an outstanding member that demonstrates continuous support of SCSAE programs and involvement in activities.


Mohr joined the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) group sales department in 2019 and represents Visit Myrtle Beach across the country to implement strategies that welcome meetings and conventions to the destination.


According to the CVB, group travel generates a significant benefit to the region, contributing approximately $200 million annually to the local economy.

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