Written by: Kathy Rhoad, Director of Public Relations & Program Development, PCC
BAMBERG, SC—Palmetto Care Connections (PCC) has been awarded a $450,000 Health Equity Initiative grant from the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH) to increase digital inclusion and expand telehealth in rural areas of South Carolina.
Through the program, at least 1,000 rural South Carolina residents will receive digital inclusion training, digital devices and 12 months of cellular internet service.
PCC will partner with organizations and agencies such as county libraries, Offices on Aging and other community partners to select eligible participants from rural and underserved communities experiencing high health disparities and digital inequities. Target counties are expected to include Bamberg, Barnwell, Allendale, Marion, Dillon, Orangeburg, Williamsburg, Hampton, Lee and Marlboro.
“This project builds on PCC’s successful Palmetto Connect Digital Inclusion pilot grant program which trained senior citizens from rural and underserved communities on digital life skills,” said PCC Chief Executive Office Kathy Schwarting. “We are pleased to receive this Health Equity Initiative Grant to expand our Palmetto Connect Digital Inclusion program to more rural residents in the state.”
“PCC has collaborated with the Kramden Institute, an organization that provides technology tools and training to deserving families in North Carolina, and Lenovo, a multinational technology company. Lenovo has donated 1,000 laptop computers to augment the Health Equity Initiative grant,” said Schwarting.
“We are grateful for the support of the Kramden Institute and Lenovo. Lenovo’s generous donation of the laptops will be used throughout the training and given to each participant,” said Schwarting. “The laptops are a large factor in the success of the PCC Palmetto Connect Digital Inclusion program. Many rural residents don’t have a digital device or internet access at home so the laptops will connect them to a whole new world of resources and opportunities.”
“At Lenovo, our mission is to provide smarter technology for all, meaning across all ages, genders, nationalities, abilities, and ethnicities,” said Libby Richards, North America community engagement manager at Lenovo. “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the severity of the digital divide, especially in rural and low-income communities. Lenovo is proud to provide 1,000 new computers to such a worthwhile cause, as Palmetto Care Connections works to provide digital and health equity in rural and underserved areas.”
“We’re delighted about the partnership with PCC that enables Kramden, based in Durham, North Carolina, to serve senior and rural populations in our neighboring state,” said Cyndy Yu-Robinson, Executive Director of Kramden Institute. “Today, everyone needs technology tools and training for communication, health and social services, commerce, and entertainment.”
Participants in this program will learn the basic skills needed to use a computer and internet in daily life, employment, health and education. Hands-on laptop computer training will include how to send and receive emails, safely navigate the internet and how to connect to health care providers via telehealth, along with resume writing skills, job sourcing and the use of Google productivity tools.
SCORH’s Health Equity Initiative is a partnership with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, and is part of a national effort to address COVID-19 related health disparities and advance health equity in rural and underserved communities. This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with funding from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.
About Palmetto Care Connections
Established in 2010, Palmetto Care Connections (PCC) is a non-profit organization that brings technology, broadband, and telehealth solutions to health care providers in rural and underserved areas in South Carolina. PCC’s Palmetto Connect Digital Inclusion SolutionsTM help close the digital divide for residents in rural and underserved communities by increasing internet access and affordability and connecting individuals to quality-of-life resources which can combat social isolation, enhance workforce development and improve health.
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$60 billion revenue Fortune Global 500 company serving customers in 180 markets around the world. Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, we are developing world-changing technologies that power (through devices and infrastructure) and empower (through solutions, services and software) millions of customers every day and together create a more inclusive, trustworthy and sustainable digital society for everyone, everywhere. To find out more visit https://www.lenovo.com and read about the latest news via our StoryHub.
About Kramden Institute
Kramden Institute is a non-profit organization that provides technology tools and training to bridge the digital divide. Since 2003, Kramden Institute has awarded more than 43,000 computers to deserving families in North Carolina and beyond, and trained more than 7,700 individuals in basic computing skills and STEM interest areas.