Research remains a viable component within the multi-faceted College of Health at The University of Southern Mississippi. Through a variety of state and federally funded grants, faculty members and students are conducting research on projects ranging from deaf education to obesity in the Mississippi Delta.
H.U.B. City Steps
In February of 2010 the Department of Nutrition and Food Systems, in conjunction with the city of Hattiesburg, officially kicked off the intervention stage of the H.U.B. City Steps walking program. Funded by a $2 million National Institutes of Health grant, the project - officially named a Healthy "U" Begins With Steps - is designed to promote and engage Hattiesburg residents in physical activity and healthy food choices. Forming community partnerships and social networks, the program focuses on preventing hypertension by involving residents in regular walking activities.
Since 2008 experts with The Center for Sustainable Health Outreach have been working with 40 community health advisors in the Mississippi Delta on an education program titled, “Getting on Target with Community Health Advisors Project (GOTCHA)." The project has been instrumental in providing materials, information and professional guidance aimed at raising awareness and improving the health of Delta residents. The Mississippi Delta represents one of the poorest and more disadvantaged areas of the United States.
The Department of Nutrition and Food Systems has concluded a four-year project to conduct research, training and education for women’s social and civic groups in Leflore, Washington, Grenada, Pike, Copiah and Lincoln counties in Mississippi. The project, titled “Mississippi Communities for Healthy Living,” involved a $2 million cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service. The plan calls for between 350-400 women to participate in the program which included education sessions with hands-on learning activities, cooking demonstrations with tasting opportunities, mailed newsletters and telephone contacts, assessments of blood pressure, body mass index and food intake throughout the program. The department is now analyzing the data from this study.
Created in 2009, the Center on Aging at The University of Southern Mississippi was established to respond creatively to the many instructional, research and service challenges posed by the aging phenomenon with special emphasis on local and regional needs. The center held its inaugural advisory board meeting to devise strategies for gathering relevant information about the older citizen of the Hattiesburg area.
Hydration policy for students
In the summer of 2009 University of Southern Mississippi professor Denise Brown conducted a research project that addressed the challenge of keeping school children adequately hydrated. In Brown’s research project, titled “Assessing the Impact of Implementing a Hydration Policy,” she examined a select group of schools where officials allowed their students to carry water bottles inside class. The study yielded some positive results: increased alertness and attentiveness, less consumption of sodas, decrease in hunger pangs between breakfast and lunch, fewer headaches, water bottles used as incentive awards, less trash on campus and no bathroom interruptions.