Katherine Nugent

Blueprint Mississippi Health Care: An Economic Driver

I read with interest a recently released document which presented the results of a three year study A Case for Health Care in Mississippi as an Economic Driver. The report identified short and long term strategies to foster successful results for health care economic development which will not only strengthen the health care system but improve the health and wellness of Mississippians.

While the document clearly states that this study concentrates on economic development aspects instead of focusing on health care indicators such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and social/health issues, it is evident that these health indicators will influence the interpretation of the findings of the study and drive the implementation of the strategic initiatives. To leverage healthcare as an economic driver, the delivery network must meet the state’s health care needs.

The eight strategic initiatives and the recommended implementation tactics are designed to guide infrastructure and the path for promoting a statewide health care system and economic development. I noted the mention of several concepts that also will focus on Mississippi’s health care indicators; investment in human and physical infrastructure, collaboration among health care agencies, providers, and stakeholders, and breaking down of silos that could create barriers that challenge the success of this plan.

As stated in the conclusion section of the document, the key to successful implementation will require state leaders, state government, health care professionals, business, community leaders, and the Mississippi educational programs to work collaboratively to champion the growth of health care in Mississippi that will promote access to quality health and health equity through an adequate supply of healthcare providers that support the healthcare needs of this state.

The University Of Southern Mississippi College Of Nursing and the health care industry in the Gulf South are poised to collaborate in the implementation of this endeavor.

Katherine Nugent
Dr. Nugent, who has served as the director of the School of Nursing and associate dean of the College of Health since 2004, was named dean in July 2012, when the School of Nursing was returned to its status as a College of Nursing. Dr. Nugent came to the University of Southern Mississippi from the Medical College of Nursing , now called Georgia Health Sciences University, where she was the executive associate dDean. Dr. Nugent has extensive experience in nursing education and in administration of nursing programs, having served in a variety of leadership positions at the University of Texas at Galveston, Clemson University and Georgia Health Sciences University. She has been active in state, regional, and national nursing organizations and will serve as the president of the Collegiate Nursing Education Council of the Southern Regional Education Board beginning in November 2012.

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