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Latest News in Charleston, SC
Restoring trust in research by creating lasting relationships
Distrust can lead people to put up walls. For communities of color, past abuses, such as the Tuskegee Experiment, left them wary of scientific research.That distrust has been further fueled by the on-again, off-again relationship some researchers have offered these communities. Keen at first to engage them to gain data for their studies, some researchers disappeared once funding ran out, often without even informing participants of study results.Such relationships of convenience left these communities skeptical about researcher...
Distrust can lead people to put up walls. For communities of color, past abuses, such as the Tuskegee Experiment, left them wary of scientific research.
That distrust has been further fueled by the on-again, off-again relationship some researchers have offered these communities. Keen at first to engage them to gain data for their studies, some researchers disappeared once funding ran out, often without even informing participants of study results.
Such relationships of convenience left these communities skeptical about researchers’ interest in their health and welfare, said Michelle Nichols, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at MUSC, who directs the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute’s Community Engaged Scholars Program.
"You have to put in the time, spending weekends and evenings. You have to become a part of that community.” -- Michelle Nichols, Ph.D.
Tearing down those walls and restoring trust is the goal of community-based participatory research (CBPR). Its tools of the trade, according to Nichols, are trust, respect and willingness to put in the time and effort to repair and build relationships with community members, in part by listening to and respecting their stories.
In a recent article on CBPR in Stroke, Nichols and Gayenell Magwood, Ph.D., professor in the College of Nursing, share their decades-long experiences breaking down walls of distrust and provide examples from three stroke initiatives that successfully incorporated CBPR.
Their article’s biggest takeaway message: stroke initiatives that rely on academic/community partnerships should benefit not just the research team but also the community. CBPR provides researchers an opportunity not only to walk a mile in stroke survivors and caregivers’ shoes, learning about their concerns, priorities and needs, but to partner with them to find solutions.
In CBPR, stroke survivors and caregivers are involved at each stage of the research process, from coming up with the research question to designing an approach to improve outcomes and sharing study findings with the community.
Creating a safe space for storytelling
The CBPR approach aims to create a safe space in which stroke survivors and caregivers can tell their stories. Those stories have much to teach researchers and are more likely to be “heard” by other survivors and caregivers adapting to a post-stroke life.
“It just resonates better with people, especially other caregivers, if they can see and hear somebody who’s been there before,” said Nichols. “I can explain what a disease is like as a clinician and researcher, but I really don’t know what it is like to live with that condition or disease because I haven’t lived it. But they have.”
“It just resonates better with people, especially other caregivers, if they can see and hear somebody who’s been there before." -- Michelle Nichols, Ph.D.
Researchers need to create a safe and comfortable space for patients and caregivers to tell their stories, said Magwood, and learn to communicate their science in a way that will resonate with this audience.
“We have to really push our scientists and clinicians to step away from the jargon,” said Magwood. “We do training around communicating the research in plain language.”
Another way to build trust, said Nichols, is to show that you are not going anywhere, even if funding runs out. Community partners need to trust that researchers care about the partnerships and that they are not merely relationships of convenience.
“You have to put in the time, spending weekends and evenings,” said Nichols. “You have to become a part of that community.”
They have found that the more fruitful engagements with the community tend to have staying power.
“I’m fortunate enough to have a community grassroots organization that I’ve been partnering with for 20 years,” said Magwood. “That’s with and without funding. “We have grown together, and we feel comfortable that our relationship will last.”
When researchers put in the time required for CBPR, Nichols explained, community members open up, providing a more realistic picture of what living with stroke is like. Researchers and community members can then work collaboratively to address the challenges faced.
“They give us detailed examples of what it’s like, things that we may not have ever known without them telling their stories,” she said. “They open up their entire experiences and are very vulnerable through the process. Their input gives us better insight into what we need to do as clinicians and researchers to help to bridge this gap in services and care.”
Becoming part of the community
The dozen or so states that make up the stroke belt have worse stroke outcomes than the rest of the country, but mortality rates are highest in its buckle. South Carolina is part of that buckle.
While considerable progress in emergent stroke care had been made in this region in the past decade, Nichols and Magwood were keenly aware that there was no community-specific playbook or navigational tools for transitioning patients from hospitals and rehab back to their new post-stroke reality in their own communities.
“I’m fortunate enough to have a community grassroots organization that I’ve been partnering with for 20 years. We have grown together, and we feel comfortable that our relationship will last.” -- Gayenell Magwood, Ph.D.
Knowing that building trust and meaningful relationship with this community would take time, they took it upon themselves to address these issues by initiating programs that would provide much-needed education and resources.
Nichols’ work with Survive to Thrive: Living Well with Stroke, an initiative funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, focused on learning about the barriers stroke survivors faced as they tried to resume their lives. She brought together survivors and caregivers with primary care providers, members of the rehabilitation team and academic researchers.
“We wanted to know what the experience was like for them, what their needs and priority areas were, what was missing and what was falling apart in the system,” said Nichols. The team worked together to address gaps in research, education and resource availability. The partnership continues today.
Like Survive to Thrive, Magwood’s Community Based Intervention Under Nurse Guidance After Stroke (CINGS) research study was launched to listen to stroke survivors and their care partners. Doing so provided great insights into the barriers that made it difficult for them to resume their lives. They then tested a community-engaged intervention and created a resource – My Guide to Living With and Preventing Stroke – to help them to navigate post-stroke life and to avoid a second stroke.
They point to these initiatives, which served to build the foundation necessary for trust and future engagement and forged lasting relationships that strengthened both the members of the community and the research teams, as positive examples of CBPR.
The future of CBPR
Based on results thus far, Nichols and Magwood are convinced that CBPR is a tool that can aid research across the globe. Sub-Saharan Africa provides one such opportunity.
Currently, Nichols is an investigator on several global CBPR studies addressing health disparities faced by under-resourced communities. One example is the Stroke Investigative Research and Educational Network (SIREN), the main goal of which is to estimate the burden of stroke in in this region. Many who experience stroke there do not have access to emergent stroke care or rehabilitation. Prevention and education, she said, are the best ways to protect the population,
underscoring the fact that, regardless of geography, many of the same principles of mistrust and the need for relationship building apply.
While each CBPR initiative is unique, the principles are still based on the needs and strengths of a specific community, allowing CBPR to succeed anywhere, said Nichols.
“You can use the CBPR approach regardless of whether it’s a geographical population or a population that has a particular health condition,” she said. “It really doesn't matter whether we’re talking about the Southeastern part of the U.S. or Europe, Asia or Africa – the same basic CBPR elements apply.”
Nichols M, Magwood G, Woodbury M, et al. Crafting community-based participatory research stroke interventions. Stroke. 2022 Mar;53(3):680-688. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.121.035306.
A local’s guide to Charleston, SC
The best part about being a Charlestonian is knowing the ins and outs of the 843. With National Tourism Day last weekend — on May 7, to be exact — we thought it apt to rack your brain about the best things a tourist should do in the Holy City.From neighborhood bars like Share House to the Gibbes Museum of Art that you really sh...
The best part about being a Charlestonian is knowing the ins and outs of the 843. With National Tourism Day last weekend — on May 7, to be exact — we thought it apt to rack your brain about the best things a tourist should do in the Holy City.
From neighborhood bars like Share House to the Gibbes Museum of Art that you really shouldn’t skip, here are 16 recommendations for tourists to do according to, well, you.
Eat + drink
Vicious Biscuit, 409 W. Coleman Blvd., Mt. Pleasant
Check out this local restaurant suggested by Reader Mary V. that also landed a spot on our list of brunch eateries around town. We’d recommend The Fat Boy.
Shoutout to Reader Mary V. for this submission as well. Enjoy panoramic views of the peninsula while sipping on a frozen negroni or mimosa.
Firefly Distillery, 4201 Spruill Ave., North Charleston
DYK the co-owner of this local distillery is one of two masterminds behind the world’s first hand–crafted Sweet Tea Vodka? Enjoy live music + other events, plus more than 25 spirits at this Park Circle establishment.
Hero Doughnuts & Buns, 145 Calhoun St.
Grab a dozen donuts from this hidden gem offering breakfast, buns, and baked goods. Thanks, @thingstodoincharleston.
Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill, 14 N. Market St.
Be sure to make a reservation + check out the menu for this award–winning, casual steakhouse, suggested by @the_twinmike.
We can confirm: This recently-opened duo on Ann Street suggested by @noonan_15 is the place to be. Order a Larceny Mule from Share House and head back the next morning for a breakfast sandwich from Bodega.
Holy City History Tours, 164 Market St., Ste. 227
Choose a fishing charter, sunset cruise, beach walk, or custom charter to experience the Holy City waterways, suggested by @the.hangry.captain.
There’s nothing better than a beach day in the Lowcountry. Grab a beach chair + some friends and soak up the sun along this two and a half-mile long barrier island. Thanks, @thecharlestonsuites.
Waterfront Park Pineapple Fountain, Vendue Range, Concord St.
Reader Mary V. hit the nail on the head for a must-do during a classic Charleston day. Be sure to snap a photo of the picturesque landmark.
Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, 3550 Ashley River Rd.
The Center for Birds of Prey, 4719 N. Hwy. 17, Awendaw
The Woodlands Nature Reserve, 4279 Ashley River Rd.
Swing by this 6,000-acre nature reserve to explore 11 lakes, a blackwater swamp, and wildlife just outside of Charleston, by the suggestion of @thingstodoincharleston.
Charleston principal now on leave was promoted despite active investigation
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston County School District principal who was promoted on Friday then placed on administrative leave on Tuesday is now the subject of an investigation from the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission.Documents state the agency has been investigating an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against newly-promoted Septima P. Clark Academy Principal Carolyn Anderson for more than two months.Anderson was promoted to that position on Friday despite the complaint after serving as the scho...
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston County School District principal who was promoted on Friday then placed on administrative leave on Tuesday is now the subject of an investigation from the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission.
Documents state the agency has been investigating an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against newly-promoted Septima P. Clark Academy Principal Carolyn Anderson for more than two months.
Anderson was promoted to that position on Friday despite the complaint after serving as the school’s interim principal since the beginning of the school year.
In the complaint filed with the SCHAC on Feb. 16, a male employee accuses Anderson of unwanted touching and sexual comments and gestures. He says she would give details about her sex life with her husband and even find administrative tasks for him to do just to be close to her.
The employee also alleges that Anderson discriminated against him on the basis of his gender by requiring him to intervene in student fights, even after he suffered an injury that he is still recovering from months later. He claims female teachers were not held to the same standard.
After the employee heard Anderson was promoted on Friday, he sent an email to all of the Charleston County School Board members and interim superintendent Don Kennedy on Saturday, laying out his allegations and including the official EEOC complaint. In that email, he attached a number of provocative images he says came from Anderson’s social media and what appears to be screenshots of security footage inside the school. He says the images show Anderson is unfit to be a leadership position.
“The Interim Principal does not represent what Professional Leadership represents, appears, or is expected in any of Charleston County Schools. Her conduct at best is unbecoming of a principal, egregious and reprehensible,” the email states.
The school district has not commented on why Anderson was put on leave or who is responsible for promoting her.
“As stated previously, Septima P. Clark Academy’s principal is currently on administrative leave related to personnel matters for which we cannot comment while the investigation is ongoing,” the district said in a statement. “We understand the questions of timing caused by the principal’s appointment announcement and the subsequent administrative leave, but that does not change the necessity of completing a thorough investigation.”
It is also unclear if the district was even aware she was the subject of an EEOC investigation, despite documents showing the district was served on Feb. 21. School Board Member Kristen French said she was unaware of the allegations or the promotion.
“My understanding is that staff are investigating the situation and any internal breakdown in communication regarding the EEOC complaint,” French said.
Board members are not required to review or approve principal promotions.
The district had 30 days to respond to that EEOC complaint. The Human Affairs Commissions says the district has not yet responded and the next step in the case would be to send them a subpoena.
This is still an open investigation with the SCHAC, and so far, they have not made any findings.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.
SC Says Cost to Finish I-526 in Charleston Triples to $2.3B
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's road agency says the cost to build a long-debated completion of the Interstate 526 loop has tripled to more than $2.3 billion because of rising costs of land and construction.The state's share of the Mark Clark Extension is capped at $420 million in a 2019 agreement with the Charleston County, meaning the county would need to find nearly $2 billion to complete the project — six times...
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's road agency says the cost to build a long-debated completion of the Interstate 526 loop has tripled to more than $2.3 billion because of rising costs of land and construction.
The state's share of the Mark Clark Extension is capped at $420 million in a 2019 agreement with the Charleston County, meaning the county would need to find nearly $2 billion to complete the project — six times more than it planned.
The highway would start at the west end of I-526 in West Ashley, cross on to Johns Island and run back off the island to James Island. It would end at the James Island Connector.
“This, to me, is a perfect opportunity for Charleston County Council to walk away from this project,” Jason Crowley of the Coastal Conservation League told The Post and Courier of Charleston.
The league has fought the new highway for years, saying it would benefit few people and harm many.
A large portion of the project would go through Charleston. Mayor John Tecklenburg said the I-526 extension is vital.
"Our West Ashley and island residents need and deserve the traffic relief and public safety improvements this project will bring,” Tecklenburg said in statement.
The I-526 extension is separate from another project to widen the mostly four-lane interstate that links Mount Pleasant to the state port, Interstate 26 and West Ashley. The freeway has been busy because of the Charleston area's growth.
State officials said it could cost around $7 billion to expand I-526 to eight lanes, untangle its intersection with I-26 and build or expand several bridges along the route.
For the I-526 extension, the South Carolina Department of Transportation is asking Charleston County to show it still wants to fund the project, estimating the county would need to pay about $75 million to get ready for bids.
“I don’t know if people are going to have an appetite for it,” said County Council Chair Teddie Pryor. “Where are we going to get the extra money from?”
The project's supporters suggest prices may soon fall, reducing the cost of I-526. Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce said, though, that further delays show costs inevitably rise.
“The current cost of the project heightens the important need of completing this effort now," the chamber said.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
14 outdoor patios in Charleston, SC
Hey, Charleston. It’s officially springtime and you know what springs to mind? Taking our lunch outside on the patio. That’s right — what better way to get those outdoor points than getting to wine + dine while basking in the sun?Grab your favorite pair of shades and your pampered pooch for some much-needed terrace time. We’ve rounded up 14 outdoor patios where you can eat, drink, people–watch + sunbathe at these lo...
Hey, Charleston. It’s officially springtime and you know what springs to mind? Taking our lunch outside on the patio. That’s right — what better way to get those outdoor points than getting to wine + dine while basking in the sun?
Grab your favorite pair of shades and your pampered pooch for some much-needed terrace time. We’ve rounded up 14 outdoor patios where you can eat, drink, people–watch + sunbathe at these local bars and restaurants, including pet–friendly spots for your furry companions.
Blind Tiger Pub, 36-38 Broad St.
Step back in time at this speakeasy-style bar that honors the legacy of “Blind Tigers” which came before the pet–friendly Broad Street hangout. We can confirm: The courtyard is awesome.
Offering arguably the most delicious beer + food combo in Charleston — hello, sushi burrito — Revelry features plenty of beer on tap and ample outdoor space from its rooftop with panoramic views. Bonus: It’s also pet friendly.
82 Queen, 82 Queen St.
Church & Union, 32B N. Market St.
Vintage Coffee Café, 219 Simmons St., Mt. Pleasant
Order a chai latte and a homemade pastry and head outside to enjoy the abundant outdoor space at this dog + kid–friendly spot in Mt. Pleasant.
Saltwater Cowboys, 130 Mill St., Mt. Pleasant
This is the perfect spot to spend a sunny day in the Holy City. Grab some friends, bring your pup, and enjoy a frozen CreekWacker, or two, with awesome views of Shem Creek.
Bowen’s Island, 1870 Bowens Island Rd.
Truly a Charleston staple, Bowens Island has been serving locally harvested oysters, fried shrimp, and seafood platters since 1946. There’s not a bad seat in the house to enjoy a waterfront golden hour.
Edmunds Oast Brewing Co., 1505 King St.
When asked if the spot welcomes your furry friend, the answer was short and sweet: “WE. LOVE. DOGS.” ‘Nuff said. Swing by the Brewing Co. &. Taproom on King Street or the Restaurant & Brewpub at 1081 Morrison Dr.
Bay Street Biergarten, 549 E. Bay St.
Cru Café, 18 Pinckney St.
There are panoramic views of the Holy City, and then there are panoramic views of the Holy City from farm–to–table rooftop spot The Watch. If you know, you know. Pro tip: Get the sliders.
Frannie & The Fox, 181 Church St.
Check out this upscale lounge on King Street located above The Macintosh + enjoy a craft cocktail or split a punch bowl with a few friends on the rooftop terrace.
Looking for more? Head over to OpenTable for all outdoor seating options in Charleston.
Before you head out, be sure to load up on plenty of treats + toys so you can treat your pup after they have good behavior at one these dog-friendly patios.