Building a Healthy Mississippi

Mississippi continues to make progress toward a healthier future, and the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is facilitating this progress by providing the resources, funding and leadership needed to continue in our commitment to a healthier Mississippi.

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is proud to have provided grant funding to these organizations:

Building Healthy Communities

City of Brookhaven - 2014 Healthiest Hometown

Since winning a Healthy Hometown award for its population category in 2013, the City of Brookhaven continues to make community health and wellness paramount and was named “Mississippi Healthiest Hometown” in 2014. The Brookhaven Healthy Hometown Committee established goals to increase community wellness by providing a variety of activities and resources. As a result, municipal employees receive free on-site health screenings by local health professionals and discounts at fitness centers with incentives to participate in weight loss programs. Local businesses have also implemented worksite wellness programs to encourage exercise, healthy eating, tobacco cessation and other healthy behaviors. Brookhaven is using technology and social networking to its advantage. Links on the city’s website provide health and wellness information related to local fitness centers, sports activities, walking clubs, cycling events and other recreational venues and activities.

City of Pascagoula - 2014 Healthy Hometown

Situated on the scenic shoreline of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the City of Pascagoula boasts a plethora of outdoor recreational opportunities on its more than 200 acres of parks, streams and lakes. As a result of making outdoor active lifestyles and community health a priority, combined with the efforts of the Pascagoula Healthy Hometown Committee, the city won a Healthy Hometown award for its population category in 2014. Through its Healthy Hometown Pascagoula webpage on the city’s website, the community can access information about farmers’ markets, healthy recipes, fitness and recreation groups and local health clubs and fitness centers.

City of Moss Point - 2014 Healthy Hometown

Enriched in southern culture and nestled among live oaks and flowering shrubs, the City of Moss Point’s mission is to create a healthy environment for residents by providing green space for outdoor activities and health and wellness initiatives. Through the leadership of the Moss Point Healthy Hometown Committee, residents are encouraged to utilize city parks, recreational spaces, walking trails, and opportunities to cultivate fruits and vegetables in the city’s community garden. In 2013, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation partnered with the City of Moss Point on the “Walk, Run or Bike” initiative. This initiative promotes physical activity and includes goals to create awareness of the importance of daily exercise to help citizens lead healthy lifestyles by taking control of their own health and wellness conditions.

City of Walnut - 2014 Healthy Hometown

Municipal leaders and residents comprising the Walnut Healthy Hometown Committee are taking responsibility for their own personal health and wellness through exemplary leadership and community engagement earning the City of Walnut a “Healthy Hometown” award in its inaugural year as a contender. There is a good chance someone is on the city’s walking trail around the clock as residents make good use of Walnut’s well-lit outdoor track. Other opportunities for community physical fitness include public tennis courts, ball fields and a swimming pool.

Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty (MadCAAP)

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation partnered with Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty (MadCAAP) on the “Save our Garden” initiative to relocate the Helping Hands community garden to a new and expanded location for the betterment of serving the county’s food insecure. The initiative provides residents with limited resources a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in tandem with healthy food preparation and nutrition education classes.

Methodist Children's Homes of Mississippi

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation supported the Methodist Children's Homes of Mississippi in an aquatic program to teach children how to swim. Project goals are focused on changing the campus culture to a health and wellness environment that includes fitness classes and nutrition education with measurable outcomes.

Building Healthy Universities and Colleges

Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Project goals for a second year grant from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation for Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Wolfpack Wellness initiative include plans to build relationships with local elementary schools and the surrounding community. Plans are to engage students in indoor and outdoor fitness activities and host family fun walks and health fairs. On the Wesson campus, new exercise equipment will be purchased for use by faculty, staff and students with a wellness program in place that includes pre and post health screenings.

Delta State University

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation began working with Delta State University in 2009. With support from the Foundation, DSU's Healthy Campus/Community Initiative is very successful, from the implementation of a campus-wide tobacco-free policy to the engagement of the community and local schools in wellness activities throughout the year. The initiative now expands into the Clarksdale community through the Coahoma County Higher Education Center, a DSU satellite campus, with a goal of developing a sustainable health and wellness culture. Professional development training will be offered to teachers in the Clarksdale Municipal School District and Coahoma County School District, with fitness, leadership and nutrition activities provided to PK-12 students. Health and wellness curricula and a mobile nutrition lab are infused with lesson plans aligned with the Coordinated School Health Program, to educate students about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. The initiative also includes an outdoor recreation program designed to encourage lifelong healthy behaviors and promote school children’s participation in fitness events, such as Saturdays in the Park, Fit-Tastic Fridays, mini-summer camps and walking clubs.

Hinds Community College

With a mission to build a healthy campus and community, Hinds Community College implemented a health and wellness model on its Raymond campus that includes a tobacco-free policy and an environment that supports and promotes exercise and healthy nutrition. The college collaborates with community stakeholders to create a health network allowing students and residents to attend workshops focused on making healthy choices and participate in a wide range of fun physical activities from swimming to circuit training. Health fairs and summer youth camps are designed to enhance learning experiences related to the benefits of healthy cooking, eating and physical fitness.

Itawamba Community College

Health and wellness is primary at Itawamba Community College as evidenced by the WellFit 365 initiative designed to implement a plan for promoting and advancing health, nutrition and exercise. The college plans to take a lead role in developing relationships with the local school district and surrounding communities by creating health and wellness programs, including summer youth camps to educate students on the importance of living healthy lifestyles.

Jackson State University

The “One Fit JSU” health and wellness initiative consists of a multi-faceted health education and promotion campaign that includes nutrition education, health workshops, fitness training and an ongoing review of the university’s health and wellness policies. The campus bike sharing program gives students, faculty, administrators and visitors a new option for getting around campus while simultaneously supporting a healthy lifestyle. Through this initiative, group exercise classes and health fairs are available to the community along with fun fitness programs such as Camp Tiger Tails youth summer camp and the Walter Payton “Sweetness” 5K.

Jones County Junior College

Students at Jones County Community College have the opportunity to participate in the Next Steps initiative with support from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. Baseline health screenings will provide the college’s students, faculty and staff with valuable health information. The initiative includes goals to create awareness of the importance of daily exercise by offering a variety of physical fitness activities such as circuit training and kick boxing.

Mississippi College

Mississippi College is making wellness awareness an integral part of campus culture though the MoveMC initiative. The college’s main focus is to improve the health of individuals living on campus and in the Clinton community by making campus walking trail enhancements to encourage walkability. The initiative includes goals for integrating healthy nutrition, exercise and tobacco cessation information into the college curricula with a defined process for obtaining measurable outcomes.

Mississippi Valley State University

Incoming freshmen to Mississippi Valley State University begin their college experience with required classes focused on the benefits of healthy eating and exercise with biometric screenings throughout their college careers. Recreational opportunities exist outside the classroom, bringing the campus and community together for creatively-themed physical fitness activities to encourage active lifestyles. Walking clubs, one-mile fun runs, and 5K events make good use of the campus walking trail and are open to members of the community. Enhancements to the MVSU greenhouse support the university’s goal to produce fresh fruits and vegetables year round for sustainable nutrition in the campus dining hall.

Northeast Mississippi Community College

A comprehensive wellness program at Northeast Mississippi Community College seeks to create a healthy campus culture with FitNEss, a program designed to assess and monitor the health status of students and employees, including support in making lifestyle modifications to improve wellness and reach fitness goals. New fitness equipment and a cooking lab will offer the campus and community population opportunities to participate in exercise programs and nutrition education classes. Summer youth camps and community-wide events are planned to offer lessons about the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

Building Healthy Schools

Mannsdale Elementary School

Through the “Growing Better Citizens” initiative, physical education teachers at Mannsdale Elementary School are finding imaginative and innovative ways to get students moving by incorporating outdoor adventure-style activities that transform getting fit into something fun and achievable. The fitness components of the initiative include disc golf, archery, fishing, camping, geocaching, orienteering and a low ropes challenge course. The initiative’s nutrition component includes a sustainable living garden to foster social interaction by cultivating the land and harvesting fresh produce for healthy meal preparation in the school cafeteria and sharing with the food insecure in the surrounding community.

Physical Education Conference

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation hosted its 6th Annual Physical Education Conference bringing together 20 P.E. teachers from around the state. The teachers participated in an educational session and shared best practices for engaging students and making P.E. classes both exciting and effective. Participants also received indoor fitness equipment and curricula to enhance their schools P.E. programs.