Policy and Advocacy Team


  • Identify opportunities to leverage the collective voice of the Alliance to achieve Alliance goals; inclusive of type and level of advocacy needed.
  • Determine the most effective ways to reduce barriers for the achievement of Alliance goals through advocacy
  • Guide collective advocacy efforts approved by the Alliance


  • The Alliance for a Healthier South Carolina Policy and Advocacy Team does not engage in legislative advocacy or lobbying.
  • 2017 Meeting Times: To be announced.


Accelerating Behavioral Health Outcomes improvement in South Carolina

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Local experts in Behavioral Health released this year two sets of recommendations to improve Behavioral Health in South Carolina and to decrease Prescription Drug Abuse in our state.

The Alliance encourages members to support all recommendations as appropriate to the individual organizations, with specific collective focus on 6 recommendations prioritized by the Policy and Advocacy Team:

Prioritized Prescription Drug Prevention Recommendations:

Prioritized Behavioral Health Recommendations:

  • Create short-stay crisis stabilization facilities across the state for patients experiencing a behavioral health emergency.
  • Support the expansion of access to outpatient behavioral health services around the state.
  • Develop a network of Mobile Crisis Units.

A new case study about the Charleston-Dorchester Mental Health Center, explains these three components of a comprehensive behavioral health strategy.


Teresa Arnold

State Director, AARP

Versie Bellamy

Deputy Director, Department of Mental Health

Mark Binkley, JD

Deputy Director, Department of Mental Health

Megan Branham

Director of Policy, Children's Trust of South Carolina

Michael Cunningham

VP, Advancement, AnMed Health

Kathy Dunleavy

CEO, Mary Black Foundation

Amy Edmunds

Lecturer, Coastal Carolina University

David Garr, MD

Executive Director, SC AHEC

Rozalynn Goodwin

VP Community Engagement, SC Hospital Association

Marisette Hasan

VP South Carolina Operations, The Carolinas Center

Rhonda Hill

Director, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and School Health, Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)

Naomi Lett

Senior Director, Public Policy, United Way Association of SC

Breana Lipscomb

Director of Program Services & Government Affairs, March of Dimes

Melinda Merrell

Senior Program Director, SC Office of Rural Health

Maya Pack

Associate Director of Research, Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH)

Renée Romberger

VP, Community Health Policy and Strategy, Spartanburg Regional Health Care System

Kathy G. Schwarting, MHA

Executive Director, Palmetto Care Connections

Julie Smithwick

Executive Director, PASOs

Bruce Snyder, MD

Past President, Board of Trustees, SC Medical Association

Shawn Stinson, MD

Chief Medical Officer, BlueCross BlueShield SC

Naomi Torfin

Senior Director of Public Policy, United Way Association of South Carolina

Christine Turley, MD

CMO, Health Sciences SC

Melissa Watson

Director of Programs and Operations, SC Thrive

Lisa Wear-Ellington

President and CEO, SC Business Coalition on Health