Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
SC Biz News


Root Cause awarded $247,029 Healthy Greenville grant

  • Staff Report
Print Story
  • Share

Root Cause is working with 50 community partners to deliver some basic health care services in Greenville. (Photo/Provided)Root Cause, a health and public services initiative led by the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, Prisma Health-Upstate, and more than 50 community partners, is the recipient of a three-year grant by Healthy Greenville. 

The $247,029 grant will help Root Cause continue its mission of serving residents in the community of Dunean who might otherwise have limited access to health care and expand to two nearby communities in Greenville County, according to a news releaase. It will also allow the medical-student-run community health fair to extend its outreach efforts as it bridges important healthcare and wellness resources to residents. 

The grant was awarded as part of the 2022 grant cycle for “Healthy Greenville: A Bold Health Initiative for Greenville County,” the Greenville Health Authority’s annual grant program. This year, “Healthy Greenville” awarded a total of $5.8 million in grants to 11 nonprofit organizations that impact health-related care, health research, and health education projects and programs to improve the health of Greenville County residents.

“We are extremely grateful to the Greenville Health Authority for its recognition of the efforts of our students to expand access to health care, and work toward overcoming health disparities in their surrounding communities,” said Dr. Jennifer Springhart, clinical assistant professor at the medical school and faculty adviser for Root Cause. “This grant will allow us to reach larger numbers of people in need and help our students to feel embedded in the Greenville community.”

Since 2019, Root Cause has been engaging and helping residents stay healthy, by promoting healthy lifestyles and working to reduce health disparities across Greenville County. USC School of Medicine Greenville established the community health fair in the community of Dunean, where a significant portion of residents report low access to health care, the news release said. A 2018 multidisciplinary task force found that the community — adjacent to the medical school and Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital — was an at-risk community with a high rate of poverty, diabetes, obesity and low rates of access to health care. 

Thanks to the three-year Healthy Greenville grant, Root Cause will be able to expand its reach and positive impact beyond the Dunean community. Plans call for an expansion to the nearby communities of Nicholtown and Berea. 

“This grant will help Root Cause expand to these other communities while also continuing to invest in the Dunean region,” Elise Kao, Root Cause student director, said in the news release. 

Furthermore, Kao says the nascent program strives to “establish our future as a positive staple of the Greenville County community.”

Every month, Root Cause holds a health fair in Dunean. At the monthly health fair, a free meal is provided while various partners and healthcare experts provide resources and/or teach on relevant public health topics. School of Medicine Greenville medical students and health care practitioners teach healthier habits through wellness workshops, cooking demonstrations, blood pressure screenings and more. 

Root Cause aims to “ensure those who have decreased access to health care resources can receive them during our monthly health fairs, such as connecting to primary care offices, free clinic information, and wellness information,” said Darby Billing, student community outreach director. Furthermore, the unique initiative also provides the medical school’s future physicians an opportunity to gain valuable medical volunteering experiences. 

The initiative also plans to hire a marketing employee to help with outreach about the program and events throughout the year. Root Cause is currently entirely run and organized by medical school faculty, medical student volunteers and community-partner volunteers.

  • Share
Write a Comment

Subscribe to Our Digital Newsletters