Context Matter Experts
Many are familiar with the term “Subject Matter Expert” or “Content Matter Expert” which often refers to someone with an extensive educational background regarding a specific study topic. We at the Center for Community Health Alignment like to emphasize that when attempting to co-create solutions with our community, formal education isn’t enough; In addition to subject matter expertise, we must have folks with extensive lived experience at the table to provide much needed context to the topics being discussed. This page highlights a few of the professionals on our team that we consider Context Matter Experts.
Cartia Higgins, CHW Researcher in Spartanburg, SC
Christie Savage, CHW Researcher in Columbia, SC
LaShandra Morgan, CHW Researcher in Orangeburg County, SC
Cartia Higgins is a Community Health Worker Researcher for the Community Health Alignment Center (CCHA) within the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health. She has over a decade of experience working in the healthcare field serving in several communities helping the underserved population. She is an experienced Community Health Worker who has developed a passion for helping others. Cartia is a training facilitator for CCHA and has been working in this capacity since 2020. She is also a member of the SC Community Health Worker Association and the National Association of Community Health Workers.
Additionally, Cartia sits on the board for Girls on the Run, a nonprofit organization in the upstate. Cartia is passionate about community engagement, building relationships, making connections, and having that authentic relationship with the people she engages with.
LaSheba Boyd is a native of Greenville, SC. She pursued her undergraduate studies at a small but mighty historical black college Voorhees College; located in Denmark, SC. There LaSheba earned her degree in Mass Communication. After graduation she dived head first into the healthcare field becoming a Medical Outreach representative. She learned about the many challenges facing the Medicaid population and developed a passion to help. LaSheba wanted to lift the barrier between the Medicaid population and the health plan and figure out how to do more for the community.
Next she obtained her master’s degree in Healthcare Administration, and recently obtained her Master’s in Business Administration. In addition to her education, she has over 10 years’ experience in community outreach, marketing, managed Medicaid, and Medicare and recently Medicare Advantage. Her educational background has given her a sound understanding of theories and principles which has assisted her in who she is today. To take her passions of impacting the community to the next level she became a Certified Community Health worker.
In the past ten years she has learned an immense amount from the community by placing herself in their homes and advising them about case management and how to take full advantage of their health benefits. She does this by listening to the community and sometimes identifying the social determinates that can open the lines of communication. Recently, she accepted the CHW initiative project lead with CCHA. The goal of this project is to continue to build the Southeast CHW development. She plans to take this opportunity to network and share best practices and find those barriers in those states to continue to grow the Southeastern Network. LaSheba is very excited about this opportunity!
LaSheba’s favorite holiday is Christmas! She even started her own company called Deck the Halls! Here she provides interior, holiday, and party decorating services. Although she loves decorating all these things, her first love will always be the Christmas tree! She lives by the moto quoted by Helen Keller “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight, but no vison”
Christie Savage has experience in community organizing for many years in Syracuse, New York and Columbia, South Carolina. Some of those experiences include working as a Paralegal, Coordinator or the Innovations Health Project of the Community Health Center, President of Northwood Hills Neighborhood Association, President of the Eau Claire Community Council, Member of the City of Columbia’s Citizen Advisory Committee, member of Healthy Columbia and many other experiences.
LaShandra Morgan is a health educator who works with the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control-Lowcountry Community Systems Team to assists communities in reducing the incidence and prevalence of chronic disease and to work on policies, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry, a Master of Public Health degree, and is currently finishing her Doctor of Education degree.
LaShandra believes that everyone deserves to have the best quality of life possible regardless of who they are, where they are from, or their level of income. For this reason, she makes sure to weave health equity into every project she takes on.
LaShandra is proud of the collaborative work she has done with the Bamberg County Community Rural Arts Work League (CRAWL) to improve the health of those that live in Bamberg County, SC through pedestrian planning, park revitalization, etc.; the Healthy Tri-County Diabetes Coalition to help expand the National Diabetes Prevention Program into the rural pockets of the Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester Counties, and her drug/tobacco prevention work through Smoke-Free Lowcountry and the Berkeley County Prevention Board.
LaShandra is most proud of her work with healthy food access. She has been able to achieve increasing healthy food access with low-income and rural populations by helping to establish and a non-profit organization called Growing COB who has teamed up with Eat Smart Move More SC, the Tri-County Health Network, and the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development (SCACED), various libraries, as well as others to increase healthy food access through community gardening in low-income communities and food deserts. LaShandra has also had experience with starting food pantries and transforming food pantries into “healthy” food pantries. LaShandra explains that while food pantries are in the business of alleviating hunger, they simultaneously increase people’s risk of chronic disease and decrease health outcomes because a lot of the food that is donated and distributed is unhealthy. Because of this phenomenon, LaShandra links food pantries with local farmers and coordinates gleaning efforts so that food pantries can give away fresh produce.
South Carolina Community Health Worker Association (SCCHWA)
SCCHWA is made up of Community Health Workers (CHWs) and supporters who are building a healthier South Carolina through the promotion of education, networking and advocacy for the community health worker profession. The association provides a forum for networking, sharing of strategies and resources, and provide a foundation for education of CHWs and the organizations and systems that support them.
Because the CCHA mission is to use evidence-based models and meaningful engagement strategies to co-create solutions with community leaders that address health inequities, we are proud to closely collaborate with SCCHWA. They serve as a networking hub for context matter experts across the state of South Carolina.
Whitney Davis is from Hartsville, SC and graduated from Mayo High School for Math, Science, and Technology in 2004. From there she went to college and attended Coastal Carolina University, graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science with a minor in Communications. Whitney previously worked with Teen Pregnancy Prevention in Chesterfield, SC. There she gained experience with youth, reproductive health education, contraceptive use, and planned and unplanned pregnancies. Whitney is currently a member of the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health Community Health Worker Ambassador Program and a graduate of the 2019-2020 Leadership Hartsville Class. In addition, she is the Community Health Manager and lead Family Planning Health Worker for Darlington County First Steps in Hartsville, SC.
Whitney is passionate about working with and advocating for the community and providing needed resources with a special emphasis on connecting with mothers.