Thursday, October 15, 2020 Charleston County Library

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The WISE (Women in the South-East) Telehealth Network has been chosen to receive funding from the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare to increase access to high value, quality healthcare in rural areas. The Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) System is one of five organizations statewide receiving funding to support library systems as hubs to improve community health.  

“We are proud to work with local libraries and their partners,” Dr. Kevin Bennett, Director of the Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare, said. “Our primary goal is to help improve rural residents’ access to quality healthcare. Relying on solutions proposed by those in the community will only further that goal.” 

The mission of the WISE Telehealth Network is to improve women’s health and well-being by providing preventive care through telehealth at local libraries in the rural lowcountry. Funding for WISE will impact rural areas in Charleston County by connecting women to healthcare resources in maternal care, infectious disease, and mental health. CCPL will increase healthcare access and address health disparities through direct provision and referral, offering care management, and connecting women to available community and social services. This project is made possible through a partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), and the College of Charleston. 

“We are so thrilled to be working together with these three organizations so that we can make an impact to women in rural parts of Charleston County,” said Deputy Director of Innovation Natalie Hauff. “CCPL works hard to break down barriers in order to provide accessibility to information and resources, so this collaboration aligns perfectly with our mission.” 

“In our research, women in the rural lowcountry described the local public library as an ideal location for a telehealth initiative. WISE will connect women in rural Charleston County to vital services through telehealth appointments with MUSC physicians and low-cost referrals to DHEC for in-person services,” said principal investigator and project lead, Dr. Beth Sundstrom, Associate Professor and Director of the Women’s Health Research Team at the College of Charleston.  

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, women have disproportionately had to assume responsibilities for childcare and drop out of the work force. Our goal is offer opportunities for women to interact with providers without having to arrange childcare for a clinic visit,” said MUSC OBGYN, Dr. Gweneth Lazenby. “This initiative will offer women-centered care that will increase access to healthcare, early intervention services, continuity of care, and availability of resources through telehealth.” 


About Charleston County Public Library (CCPL)
CCPL connects our diverse communities to information, fosters lifelong learning, and enriches lives. CCPL is the path to our cultural heritage, a door to resources of the present and a bridge to opportunities in the future. More than just a place to find books, movies, and other materials, libraries are dedicated spaces to promoting literacy, educational success, workforce development, and community engagement. 

About the Women’s Health Research Team and the College of Charleston
The Women’s Health Research Team includes approximately 25 faculty and students who conduct innovative women’s health research, promote interdisciplinary research collaborations, and communicate research findings to empower women and girls in our community, South Carolina, and beyond. The College of Charleston is a nationally recognized public liberal arts and sciences university located in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Founded in 1770, the College serves approximately 10,000 undergraduates and 1,500 graduate students in state-of-the-art facilities. Students and faculty are engaged with the community in partnerships to improve education, enhance health and well-being, and enrich the overall quality of life in the city of Charleston - world-renowned for its history, culture, architecture, and coastal environment. The history, traditions, and environment of Charleston and the Lowcountry offers distinctive opportunities and relationships that advance our public mission in the city of Charleston, state of South Carolina, and the world.  

About the Medical University of South Carolina
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state’s only integrated academic health sciences center with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The state’s leader in obtaining biomedical research funds, in fiscal year 2019, MUSC set a new high, bringing in more than $284 million. For information on academic programs, visit 

As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality patient care available while training generations of competent, compassionate health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Comprising some 1,600 beds, more than 100 outreach sites, the MUSC College of Medicine, the physicians’ practice plan and nearly 275 telehealth locations, MUSC Health owns and operates eight hospitals situated in Charleston, Chester, Florence, Lancaster and Marion counties. In 2020, for the sixth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services visit 

MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $3.2 billion. The more than 17,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care. 

About S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)
DHEC is charged with promoting and protecting the health of the public and the environment in South Carolina. With more than 3,800 employees working in 100 locations across the state, our vision is healthy people living in healthy communities.  

About the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare
The South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare supports and develops sustainable rural and primary care education and healthcare delivery in South Carolina through clinical practice, training, and research. The Center strives for a future where all South Carolinians have access to high value, quality health care.