August 28, 2014  

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Health Summit Brings Positive Impact to Mississippi Healthcare

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Cardiologist Dr. Michael Mansour addresses a large turnout for the 2013 Mississippi Health Summit held at The University of Southern Mississippi on June 26. (Photo by Kelly Dunn)

The University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Health hosted the 3rd Annual Mississippi Health Summit on June 26 at the Thad Cochran Center on the Hattiesburg campus. Approximately 180 healthcare professionals attended sessions to discuss issues and exchange ideas.

The three session topics were: “Addressing Issues to Access and Treatment of Primary Care,” “How Do We Respond to the Current State of Medicaid Expansion and the Health Insurance Marketplace?” and “Beginning to Work Together: a Second-Year Look at Growing Partnerships in Mississippi.”

Greenville, Miss. Cardiologist Dr. Michael Mansour and Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney delivered keynote addresses at the Summit.

“As the established university with health programs, we felt that we needed to do something to encourage collaboration between all health professionals in the state,” said Dr. Mike Forster, dean of the College of Health at Southern Miss.

At the end of each session, attendees were encouraged to participate in a breakout discussion. Participation is structured into the design and discussion is a major part of the Summit.  

Event moderators recorded suggestions and ideas for improvement of Mississippi healthcare from breakout discussions and will later assemble them into a report. The Summit steering committee will review the data and then make it available for public use.

“Our goal was to pull together people who can make a difference in the health profession,” said Forster.

A discussion from last year’s Health Summit included the suggestion of a state entity to closely monitor the healthcare workforce. State Board of Health members and legislators in attendance helped sponsor legislation to do just that. A commission was also established to study the issue of food desserts.

“I'm appreciative of the College of Health’s leadership role in bringing public health officials to look into and discuss the challenges for Mississippi healthcare,” said Robert Pugh, executive director of the Mississippi Healthcare Association.