State health officer Dr. Brian Amy and Southern Miss President Dr.
Shelby Thames today signed an agreement that will give researchers
at the university access to data collected and archived by the Mississippi
State Department of Health (MSDH) for investigative and research
at the Mississippi State Department of Health is to promote and
protect the health of the citizens of Mississippi, and academic
partners are crucial to carrying out that mission," Amy said.
The MSDH is
following the national direction of the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention and the Association of Schools of Public Health,
which are currently developing "academic health departments."
This initiative is designed to merge academic pursuits with the
service-delivery aspects of state health agencies.
relationship provides an important research arm to the Mississippi
State Department of Health and will be utilized in developing and
evaluating our future programs and activities," Amy said. "But
more importantly, future graduates will be better armed to enter
the health arena."
The MSDH administers
more than 40 programs that collect data on health-related issues,
ranging from infectious and chronic diseases to environmental health
and regulatory issues. Southern Miss faculty and students will now
have access to this data and can use it for teaching and research
efforts. The data will be useful for educators and students in a
wide range of disciplines, including behavioral science, GIS, nursing,
community health, environmental health, genetics, exercise science,
business and management, computer science, food and nutrition, education
presently conducted by Mitch Berman, associate professor and associate
dean of the College of Education and Psychology, will be greatly
impacted by the information now available through the MSDH. "Psychologists,
along with other Southern Miss faculty, will find the partnership
to be very beneficial and will give us access to data that will
allow us to develop treatment interventions and determine new and
innovative health solutions," Berman said.
Access to current
data is an absolute necessity for quality research results, said
Thames. "This is a win-win situation for Southern Miss and
for the MSDH," he said. "We look forward to working more
closely with them to learn more about and to help improve the health
potentials of Mississippians."
between the MSDH and Southern Miss is only the second of its kind
in Mississippi. The University of Mississippi Medical Center and
the MSDH have a similar memorandum of understanding.