DSU President Search Contact Careers News
Public Relations
MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES HELP ADDRESS MISSISSIPPIANS' HEALTH CHALLENGES

10/14/2022 - Jackson, Miss.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Mississippi ranks first among all states in deaths from heart disease, Alzheimer's Disease, and kidney disease. These diseases and other health challenges have a tremendous impact on Mississippi families. As illness prevents Mississippians from working and increases the need for social services, health issues also have a negative impact on Mississippi's economy. Mississippi Public Universities work hard to help Mississippians lead healthier lives by training the next generation of healthcare professionals, conducting groundbreaking research, and providing community services.

Delta State University offers the only Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Post-Master's Certification and Doctor of Nursing Practice degree programs in the Mississippi Delta. The DSU Robert E. Smith School of Nursing's numerous degree offerings regularly rank high for quality, affordability, and efficiency. In 2021, it was ranked by U.S. News for Best Online Program for Master's in Nursing Program. All of Delta State's nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

In alignment with the Elevate 2026 strategic plan, the Jackson State University Department of Health Policy & Management has launched a Bachelor of Science in Public Health program, which will provide a sound theoretical and practical education for public health practitioners. Upon graduation, students can assume entry and middle-level positions as community health planners, first responders, epidemiologists, and public health nurses, to name a few. The new program is a product of the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) funds project between JSU and Mississippi College.

Mississippi State University's innovative Master of Physician Assistant Studies program is the only publicly funded curriculum of its kind in the state. Located at MSU-Meridian's Riley Campus, the program prepares PAs to practice and promote empathetic, primary care-focused medicine serving Mississippi's culturally diverse population. PA students in the 29-month program participate in clinical rotations that provide hands-on learning at several Magnolia State medical facilities.

The PROMISE Initiative, led by the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State, recently received national recognition for its work to prevent opioid misuse among rural Mississippians, including agricultural producers and youth. The Initiative received the National Innovative Programs and Projects Partnership Award from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. As part of the PROMISE Initiative, 97 percent of MSU Extension agents are trained in mental health first aid to better understand, identify, and respond to signs of mental illness.

The Public Health Education Program at Mississippi University for Women is offered fully online and develops professionals who work to promote, maintain and improve individual and community health in the public and private sectors and at the local, state, and federal levels. Because of the public health concerns in recent years, the need for more public health professionals has become evident. Public Health professionals at the entry level will actively ensure that local, state, and federal health initiatives are implemented effectively.

The Mississippi Valley State University Health and Wellness Center offers aerobics, yoga, dance, and personal training for the elderly in the local community, free of charge. In addition, the Center works with the Greenwood Community Center to host walks and fitness classes for the city of Greenwood. Annually MVSU hosts a health and wellness expo on campus in partnership with the Greenwood Community Center.

The Master of Public Health degree at the University of Mississippi prepares future public health professionals for roles in community health, health policy, education and administration. Courses such as the health equity class prepare students to work with diverse populations, and applied learning experiences ensure MPH graduates are ready to join the workforce to promote health and tackle pressing public health issues. The MPH concentration in community health places special emphasis on the application of public health theory and science to the planning, administration and evaluation of community health programs. The MPH degree program includes a practicum experience and prepares graduates for both the Certified in Public Health (CPH) and Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exams.

University of Mississippi Medical Center's Dr. Lei Zhang, professor and associate dean for research and scholarship in the School of Nursing was awarded two grants: $5.5 million from the National Institutes of Health to establish the Mississippi Violence Injury Prevention Program, and $2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services to help prevent domestic violence against women. Each grant will enhance the other because gun violence and intimate partner violence are deeply interconnected. Mississippi had the highest firearm mortality rate in the nation in 2020.

In a state like Mississippi, where infant and maternal mortality ranks among the highest in the country, emergency responders, nurses and providers in small, rural hospitals often must deliver pre-term babies and work to save the lives of mothers who can experience a plethora of life-threatening complications before and after giving birth. The University of Mississippi Medical Center is making that happen by taking hands-on training directly to those who need it the most. Dr. Rachael Morris, UMMC associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and a team of UMMC providers are blanketing the state with both classroom-style instruction and real-life scenarios using sophisticated simulation moms and babies who talk, cry, scream, breathe and register vital signs such as heartbeat and rate of respiration. The training is called STORK, which stands for Stabilizing OB and Neonatal Patients, Training for OB/Neonatal Emergencies, Outcome Improvements, Resource Sharing, and Kind Care for Vulnerable Families.

UMMC Cancer Center Research Institute clinics at the Jackson Medical Mall's Thad Cochran Center, in collaboration with UMMC Department of Pathology, provides free screenings annually as part of its See, Test and Treat program. The annual program offers free mammograms, cervical and oral cancer screenings to women who qualify. Women receive their results the same day, and those with positive screenings are connected to resources for follow-up care.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is taking several measures to help address the nursing shortage in the state: a partnership with Merit Health Wesley in Hattiesburg added hospital nurses to the University's clinical teaching faculty; an accelerated nursing pathway at the Gulf Park Campus will soon help students who already have earned a degree earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in as little as 15 months, with decreased barriers to admission; and, USM has established partnerships with Alcorn State University, Pearl River Community College, and Jones College that will create easier pathways for students to earn a nursing degree. USM's nursing programs frequently rank among the best in the country-most recently as No. 3 in the nation for its online Doctor of Nursing Practice programs by OnlineU in the resource guide's "2022 Best Online DNP Degrees."

The PROMISE Initiative, led by the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State, recently received the National Innovative Programs and Projects Partnership Award from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The PROMISE Initiative, led by the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State, recently received the National Innovative Programs and Projects Partnership Award from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

As part of the PROMISE Initiative, 97 percent of MSU Extension agents are trained in mental health first aid to better understand, identify, and respond to signs of mental illness.
As part of the PROMISE Initiative, 97 percent of MSU Extension agents are trained in mental health first aid to better understand, identify, and respond to signs of mental illness.

The Master of Public Health degree at the University of Mississippi prepares future public health professionals for roles in community health, health policy, education and administration.
The Master of Public Health degree at the University of Mississippi prepares future public health professionals for roles in community health, health policy, education and administration.

# # #

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

News Archive

Moving Mississippi Forward

The Pathway to Growth for Our State

COVID-19 (Coronavirau Disease 2019) UPDATE

Caron Blanton
Director of Communications
Telephone: 601.432.6333

Allison Bullock
Social Media Manager
Telephone: 601.432.6389