One of Eat Smart Move More’s (ESMMSC) core values is partnerships, something that is needed to implement and sustain healthy eating and active living initiatives throughout the state. The founding members recognized this core value and pulled together their resources to form a sustainable organization that would drive these initiatives into the future.
One of ESMMSC’s founding partners and inaugural Board of Directors members, Lynn Dabney Hammond, knows the importance of partnerships in the development of an organization and the direction of its work. In 2007, she was the SC Healthy Schools Program Director at the SC Department of Education, and in charge of implementing the CDC School Health Cooperative Agreement, which focused on improving physical activity and nutrition among school-age youth in the school setting.
Hammond was also one of the original members of the SC Coalition to Promote Physical Activity’s (SCPPPA) Board of Directors. She served on the SC Obesity Prevention Efforts (SCOPE) group, which was chosen to develop the first SC Obesity State Plan. These two groups merged to form Eat Smart Move More South Carolina, and Hammond was on the transition team. Her experience and background in physical activity helped establish partnerships that would establish ESMMSC as a reputable organization and leader in healthy eating and active living.
We recently talked to Hammond about ESMMSC’s 10th Anniversary:
This year we celebrate ESMMSC’s 10th Anniversary. What thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about that?
It is hard to believe it has been ten years! Some of us have been serving on SCPPPA, SCOPE, and ESMMSC for longer. It is good to know that the organization has continued to move forward and to provide support to communities across the state to make the healthy choice the easy choice.
What were your visions during your service?
My vision was that ESMMSC would be the convening organization in the state for setting a vision for obesity prevention, particularly childhood obesity. It would become the entity that could engage both public and private organizations and funding to support making policy, systems, and environmental changes that would help South Carolinians make the healthy choice the easy choice! While government agencies can bring resources, including best practices and funding, they cannot do it all alone! ESMMSC, as a private non-profit, has the opportunity to bring together the various partners, create synergy with a shared vision and collective outcomes to reverse the trends in childhood and adult obesity.
What do you see as ESMMSC’s biggest accomplishments since 2007?
Piloting a community change model that could be replicated in other areas of the state has been one of the biggest accomplishments. This was accomplished with funding from BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation for the Colleton Let’s Go! Project. Also, the development and support of local community coalitions are other great achievements — six of which are now using lessons learned from the Colleton project. Community change can be supported by many at the state and regional levels, but the work and ownership has to come from the local community for it to be successful and sustainable.
Where would you like to see ESMMSC in 10 years?
I would like to see ESMMSC continue with its mission to combat obesity through policies, systems and environmental changes by partnering with state-level organizations and with local community coalitions, maintaining the focus of the organization on obesity prevention using effective and sustainable approaches, and staying the course! I would also like to see it be a convener of multiple private and public sector resources to create the synergy of effort and common outcomes to accelerate the reversal of obesity in the state.
“Congratulations to the board and staff and all those people who make up ESMMSC! Stay the course and true to the mission and vision of making the healthy choice the easy choice in SC!” Lynn Dabney Hammond is currently the South Carolina FitnessGram Coordinator at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity.
Founded in 2007, ESMMSC is one of the first non-profit organizations of its kind in South Carolina focusing on both healthy eating and active living. Its roots date back to 1999 when the South Carolina Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity formed and received nonprofit status in 2000. After changing its name to ESMMSC in 2007, the organization merged with the SC Coalition for Obesity Prevention