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Contraceptive Summit Spurs Creative Dialogue Surrounding Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Myrtle Beach, SC — Healthcare professionals from across the state gathered together this past Thursday for the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s (SC Campaign) Second Annual Contraceptive Leadership Summit. The event, held at the Marriot Resort in Myrtle Beach, was designed to give insight into ways communities can improve the access and distribution of evidence-based contraceptive and reproductive health care services to young people.

Rainy weather did little to deter the crowd as professionals joined together, eager to learn what they could do to continue to impact the number of teen pregnancies in their communities. Gail Diggs, Director of Outreach and Community Services for Rural Health Services in Aiken, SC, travelled three hours in hopes of shedding light on issues surrounding teens and their access to contraception in her area.

“Aiken is probably smaller than Spartanburg and some of the other areas that are represented here today,” said Diggs. “But, just because we are smaller, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have as many young teens that are at risk. We are inspired, encouraged, and when we get back to Aiken, we are going to hit the ground running.” 

Besides coming from small, high risk communities, one of the biggest hurdles attendees voiced was figuring out how to access teens directly. 

“One of our biggest challenges is reaching the teens and getting them to come to us. Its’ difficult,” said Reese Smith, Nursing Supervisor at Little River Medical Center in Little River, South Carolina.    

Although it may be a challenge getting teens in the door, CareSouth Carolina in Hartsville has found innovative ways to peak the interests of youth in their area. 

“We actually have redesigned a couple [of] waiting rooms. We have a teen friendly waiting area, and we also had a teen art show to help promote our program to the area high school,” said Randy Carlyle, Director of Health Services. “We actually had the kids come out and we used their artwork from the art show to decorate our rooms so it really had that teen feel to it.”

In addition to talking about ways to make contraception more accessible to teens, the sharing of challenges and successes is exactly what the summit was aiming for, according to Rena Dixon, Health Services Coordinator for SC Campaign and lead coordinator for the summit.

“Bringing together health professionals from around the state gives them a chance to have the type of discussions they normally wouldn’t have on a day to day basis,” said Dixon. “This conference opens the door for innovative ideas to be shared and that’s what we need if we want to continue to see a decline in the teen birth rate.” 

In addition to open dialogue with colleagues, attendees had the opportunity to hear national speakers, attend workshops such as Advanced LARC Insertion and Counseling Techniques and Strategies for Increasing Access and Improving Contraceptive Care, as well as network with others who share one common goal--preventing teen pregnancy. Through these methods, SC Campaign staff were able to achieve the goal of the summit – to help attendees find new ways to reach and provide contraceptive care to teens. Healthcare leaders were able to learn from other experts in the field, share ideas, and most importantly, get resources to help ensure a healthy future for their communities.

About the South Carolina Campaign:

The mission of the SC Campaign is to improve the health and economic well-being of individuals, communities and the state of South Carolina by preventing teen pregnancy. To achieve its mission, the SC Campaign works with a variety of programs – public, private, school and community based – in all regions of the state.