10-Year Anniversary Spotlight: Susan Collier

Over the past 10 years, Eat Smart Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) has been facilitating positive change across the state by being a convener of partners and by providing technical assistance to communities. However, this could not have happened without the guidance and support of partners like Susan Collier, a registered dietician and Community Systems Team member at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Midlands Region.

Collier served on the SC Obesity Prevention Efforts group, which worked on the first SC State Obesity Plan, which guided ESMMSC’s work in the formative years. She was also one of the first members of the ESMMSC Steering Committee and Board of Directors. Also, she served as co-chair of the first Communications and Marketing Committee and was instrumental in the development of the organizational brand, including the logo and website.

This year we celebrate ESMMSC’s 10th Anniversary. What thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about that?
First, I can’t believe that it’s been 10 years!  It’s exciting to see the work of ESMMSC being implemented across the state. Seeing the efforts that started 10 years ago continuing and facilitating positive change across South Carolina says so much about how successful this first decade has been.

What were your visions during your service?
There is no simple solution to our obesity rates in South Carolina, and changing those statistics requires diverse and nontraditional partners coming together to work collaboratively.  I think I envisioned ESMMSC playing an important role in those collaborative efforts by drawing partners together and providing tools and guidance to enable them to achieve greater success.

What do you see as ESMMSC’s biggest accomplishments since 2007?
ESMMSC has had several successes over the last 10 years, but since I work for DHEC at the local level, I believe the effort to reach our local communities through the establishment and support of local ESMM coalitions is one of the biggest accomplishments. This has enabled our local communities to partner with ESMMSC and have a direct impact on the health of South Carolinians.  It has also had a very positive impact by bringing local, diverse partners to the table to address access to healthy eating and physical activity.

Where would you like to see ESMMSC in 10 years?
I would like to see ESMMSC continuing to work collaboratively with partners on the state and local level to decrease our obesity rates while improving the health of our citizens.  It would be wonderful to see the obesity rates in both adults and children in South Carolina begin to decline.

I’d like to extend congratulations and thanks to the many people who have been a part of ESMMSC on both a state and local level. They have helped to facilitate the policy, system, and environmental changes needed to make the healthy choice the easy choice for South Carolinians.

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.