For Takia Daniels, helping people improve their health is a calling.
“I find joy in helping people help themselves,” she says. “I provide the education and resources, but they must put in the work. Seeing the satisfaction they get from their success is a feeling that can’t be described.”
Daniels’s work as a community health worker at Tidelands Health has taken her all over Georgetown, Williamsburg and Horry counties. She and her fellow community health workers at Tidelands Health meet people where they are — in churches, at community meetings, during events — to provide knowledge and resources to help prevent diabetes, improve their parenting skills and live better lives through better health.
“All of our community health workers, including Takia, know this community, understand the challenges and obstacles people face and how to overcome them,” says Kelly Kaminski, senior director of community health resources at Tidelands Health. “
“We are the boots on the ground seeing what the needs are,” Daniels says.
Commitment to disease prevention
Daniels and her colleagues are part of the ongoing commitment at Tidelands Health, our region’s largest health care provider, to reach outside the walls of the not-for-profit organization’s 70-plus care locations to improve the health of the community at large. Every day, Tidelands Health works within the region not just to treat disease but to prevent it.
One of the most well-known components of the health system’s community health program is the Tidelands Community Care Network, a coalition of health care providers and community agencies that was created 10 years ago to help community residents overcome barriers to receiving health care. In 2021, the network provided 3,681 prescriptions for free or at a reduced cost and assisted 1,250 people with transportation to primary and specialty care appointments.
Daniels has been part of the community health resources team at Tidelands Health for five years. She and her colleagues help educate community members about available resources and keep them connected to needed health care services, Kaminski says.
When she’s not out in the community, Daniels is working with clients online through virtual classes and seminars as a way of keeping in touch with community members and building the kind of trust that helps people stick with appointments and programs.
“When I talk to people, I let them know this is a no-judgment zone,” Daniels says. “Most of the time, I can relate to where they are. Meeting people where they are is a big thing.”
Giving back to her community
Daniels, who, with her husband, is a foster parent to a 6-year-old boy, knows firsthand the stresses of raising children these days. Through the Positive Parenting Program at Tidelands Health, she helps parents, grandparents and guardians navigate the difficulties of child-rearing, such as setting firm bedtimes and building healthy relationships with their children.
Since inception, more than 5,000 children throughout our region have been impacted by the program.
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Daniels is also involved in the Tidelands Health Diabetes Prevention Program, a community-based effort that offers education and support to help people improve their health and delay or prevent the onset of diabetes, the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S. Classes are offered at Tidelands Health facilities and in churches, community centers and businesses.
More than 330 community members have participated in the program.
“Some people will have pre-diabetes and not even know that they have it,” Daniels says. “You could be saving a life.”
After a decade as a community health worker, Daniels remains dedicated to serving the community. It’s her way of paying forward all the support and help she has received in life.
“I was born and raised here,” she says. “So I feel a responsibility to go out into the community to help and give back.”