Public Health Conference

State, local and civic leaders gathered Friday for Philadelphia's 2nd Annual Public Health Conference.

The one-day conference had one mission, to establish ways to improve the overall health and well being of residents.

"We're going to start having serious conversation, symposiums and conferences on asset building and what we can do to reduce poverty in Neshoba County and Lauderdale County and grow from there," said Dr. Keith Parker, conference organizer.

On hand for the conference were educators and other local leaders from the two counties.

The ultimate goal is creating a community that is strong physically, fiscally and within its families.

"Strengthening families to make us one whole family makes the community better, which is going to create development because people want to move and live in a healthy community," said Mayor James Young, Philadelphia organizer.

To achieve this goal, Young says coalitions are being formed.

"We are not trying to reinvent the wheel," Young said. "We have different programs, different arms in government that are already out there. We're just trying to blend them together to make one powerful resource for our area."

With Mississippi having some of the highest numbers in the nation for obesity, teen pregnancy and school dropouts, conference attendee, state Rep. Charles Young, Jr., says there is support within the legislature to address these issues.

"We started drafting legislation, actually before the legislature convened this year, to address some of those issues," said Young. "So, now that committee assignments have been made, that legislation will start to filter through the pipeline and hopefully, we'll start to see the results very soon."


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