April 16, 2014  

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Southern Miss to Host 2nd Annual Mississippi Health Summit June 29

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As Mississippi continues to struggle with high rates of obesity and negative health outcomes, a plan must be developed to guide the state to a healthy future. To assist with this plan, The University of Southern Mississippi will host the 2nd Mississippi Health Summit on Friday, June 29 at the Thad Cochran Center.

The Mississippi Health Summit, set for 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., is an invitation-only meeting of top health-related professionals and public officials in the state of Mississippi. This year’s event will promote evidence-based health policy and literacy as they relate to effective wellness promotion and prevention strategies.

The goal of the Mississippi Health Summit is not simply to discuss the state’s health issues and opportunities, but to form a plan to further improve health care and the health outcomes for the state’s citizens. The ideas and comments emerging from the event’s discussions will be compiled and distributed across the state for public use.

Gov. Phil Bryant applauds the effort and says the Mississippi Health Summit is a great way to bring attention to improving health throughout the state.

“There is no doubt that choosing to live a healthy lifestyle has a positive impact on a person’s life,” Gov. Bryant said. “As governor, I aim to set a positive example of individual health responsibility and to develop sound health care policy that will improve health outcomes in our state.”

Bryant’s health policy adviser Wesley Clay will serve as a panel speaker at the summit.

This Summit will consist of the following three panels: “How Wellness and Prevention Strategies Could Improve Mississippi’s Health”; “Mississippi’s Current Plan for Health Care”, and “Proven Strategies for Successful Health Implementation.” 

The Summit will feature notable speakers including: Dr. Luke Lampton, chairman of the Mississippi State Board of Health; Dr. Arthur Cosby, director and research fellow at Mississippi State University’s Social Science Research Center; Dr. Johnny DuPree, mayor of the City of Hattiesburg; and many more.

Fifteen top health care professionals from throughout Mississippi were involved with the planning of the 2012 Summit.  One of these committee members is University of Mississippi Medical Center faculty member and host of the Southern Remedy Radio and Television Show Dr. Rick deShazo.

“The Mississippi Health Summit has become a yearly focus for information exchange and collaboration between individual and groups working to improve Mississippi’s health. I am grateful that Southern Miss has stepped up to form a ‘think tank’ that is benefitting our state in many ways,” said deShazo.

One unique component of the Summit involves the use of breakout sessions following each of the three primary topic discussions. During these sessions, attendees will have an opportunity to exchange ideas on a given theme and find ways to unify efforts among their respective organizations to help solve the state’s health problems. These discussions will be recorded by table moderators and used for the development of a statewide plan for improvements and opportunities with health care.

The Mississippi Health Summit began as an idea from the Southern Miss College of Health’s Dean’s Council. The 2011 Summit initiated significant collaboration efforts across the state as well as helped to contribute to an increased focus of health care as an “economic engine” in Mississippi.

“This second annual summit takes another critical step in the direction Mississippi and the entire nation need to go – toward disease prevention and wellness promotion,” said Dr. Michael Forster, dean of the College of Health at Southern Miss. “And there’s no better ways to move than through the proven means of evidence-based policy and health literacy.”

The 2012 Mississippi Health Summit is sponsored in part by: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, The Office of the Governor of the State of Mississippi, The University of Southern Mississippi College of Health, Forrest General Hospital, the Mississippi Insurance Department, the Mississippi Public Health Association, the Mississippi Public Health Institute, the Mississippi Rural Health Association, William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Magnolia Health Plan, Novitas Solutions Inc, and the Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation.

For more information about the Mississippi Health Summit and the College of Health at Southern Miss, call 601.266.5253 or visit www.usm.edu/health