Jackson State University, Mississippi College granted $5 million to fund public health programs
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Many rural populations in the state have higher poverty rates and less access to health care.
Mississippi College and Jackson State University are teaming to provide public health programs and training to help bridge the great health divide.
“Mississippi has a lot of areas that are deficient of health care professionals,” said Mississippi College Provost and Executive Vice President Keith Elder.
As the pandemic rages on, improving public health has been thrust to the front in the state, especially for those in poor and rural communities who have little to no access to health care.
“Public health helps us study various areas of health outcomes, so it looks at some issues related to the pandemic. It also responds to health outcomes throughout the lifetime of the person,” said Jackson State Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Alisa Mosley.
A new grant and a partnership between Jackson State and Mississippi College aim to provide better health outcomes for all citizens despite their zip code.
“There’s a real need for universities, especially like that of ours and a strong institution like Mississippi College to come together and partner because those ideas and innovations we develop will make us all stronger collectively,” said Mosley.
This program is part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.
University leaders say $5 million is being allocated to fund public health programs and training at both institutions as part of a three-year grant.
“The money will be used to help with tuition for students who want to pursue public health training degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as community training for those throughout Mississippi to better equip Mississippians to engage fully in public health, as well as those nurses, physicians, etc., who also want to be trained in public health. Most of the folks who work in public health typically don’t have academic training in public health,” said Elder.
The collaborative plan focuses on three elements: academic, workforce, and community development.
University leaders say getting public health education and resources to rural parts of the state is also high on their list. They say many residents living in those areas have to drive long distances for help or they just go without.
“The other part is the academic piece. The training piece actually helps put more practitioners in these areas that can help at the undergraduate level and the master’s level. We are putting people in place who are equipped academically with the knowledge and skills to go into these communities and serve immediately,” said Elder.
“One of the other features are some mobile units that will go into rural communities. I really like the idea of that because based on different issues that occur, having people train the trainer on things to look out for the whole person. It makes sure everyone is covered to the best of our ability,” said Mosely.
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