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 Moss Point - 2017 Healthiest Hometown


The City of Moss Point won a Healthy Hometown Award for its population category in 2014, and continued its success by being named “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown” in 2017. With a solid leadership structure and a highly involved Healthy Hometown Committee, the municipality’s smoke-free policy was recently strengthened to include an amendment that prohibits the use of electronic smoking devices. In Moss Point, the opportunities to be healthy are plentiful, and residents are encouraged to utilize city parks, recreational spaces, and walking trails.


City of Meridian - 2017 Healthy Hometown


Through its continued efforts to promote health and wellness, the City of Meridian received a Healthy Hometown Award for its population category in 2017. Quality work is being done by the Healthy Hometown Committee to improve the health and wellness of the community by promoting recreational areas, farmers’ markets and community garden initiatives. The Mayor’s Health and Fitness Council was created to encourage good health with goals to promote active living, exercise and healthy eating.


City of Hernando - 2017 Healthy Hometown


Municipal leaders and residents comprising the Hernando Healthy Hometown Committee are taking responsibility for their own personal health and wellness through exemplary leadership and community engagement. Free health screenings and the establishment of a fitness center for city employees are two of the many wellness initiatives that earned the City of Hernando a Healthy Hometown Award for 2017.


Town of Mantachie - 2017 Healthy Hometown


In its inaugural year as a Healthy Hometown contender, the Town of Mantachie is making significant progress in creating a healthy living and working environment for its residents. Members of the Mantachie Healthy Hometown Committee share the common goal of providing citizens with plenty of opportunities to make healthy living a priority, and their efforts earned the municipality a Healthy Hometown Award for 2017.


City of Laurel


Funded through a grant from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation in 2013, the City of Laurel implemented the Healthy Heroes Program to improve the health and quality of life among members of the police force, as well as educate students in grades K-5 on the importance of healthy eating and exercise. For period two of Laurel’s Healthy Heroes Program, Laurel police officers continue to visit local elementary schools monthly teaching students the value of making healthy food choices and leading them in fun physical activities that culminate in a community walk at each school for students, faculty, staff and neighborhood residents, often led by the mayor or chief of police. Highlights of the 2017 Healthy Heroes Program in Laurel include employees of the police department having access to new strength-building equipment, outdoor fitness equipment and a walking trail that is also available to the community.


Healthy Heroes Program


In 2017, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation expanded the Healthy Heroes Program to an additional five municipalities, bringing the total of participating municipalities and counties to 13. Uniformed police officers and firefighters received training by the Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Healthy Schools and health and wellness experts at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi as to how to teach healthy eating and exercise lessons to students in grades K-5. With educational materials provided by the Foundation, uniformed police officers and firefighters began visiting their local K-5 schools teaching students the value of making healthy food choices and leading them in fun physical activities and a community walk at each school for students, faculty, staff, and neighborhood residents. For their willingness to participate in the Healthy Heroes Program, the Foundation provided each municipality with grant funds to enhance public health and wellness and promote community healthy eating and/or exercise.



Building Healthy Universities and Colleges


Blue Mountain College


The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation began working with Blue Mountain College in 2015 to implement healthy eating and exercise programs that extend from the campus to the local communities and schools. With support from the Foundation, the Blue Motion initiative provides opportunities for individuals to engage in fun wellness activities such as “Run Mississippi,” a walking/running challenge to complete 170 or 340 miles (length or width of the state).


Copiah-Lincoln Community College


In partnership with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, Copiah-Lincoln Community College began period three of the Wolfpack Wellness initiative to continue fostering a culture of health and wellness on campus that extends into the Wesson community and schools. With a new Farm to Table station in the campus cafeteria and new cardiovascular equipment in the fitness center, the initiative continues to promote sustainable healthy lifestyle changes.


East Central Community College


East Central Community College is making health and wellness an integral part of campus culture by focusing on improving the health of individuals living on campus and in the surrounding communities. The primary goal for period two of the Warrior Wellness initiative is to expand the free fitness classes to include circuit training and spin, and incorporate healthy cooking classes into the freshman and transfer student orientation sessions.


East Mississippi Community College


An outdoor fitness complex and bike desk study stations are new enhancements to East Mississippi Community College as part of period two of the Our Pride Making Strides Toward Optimal Health initiative. New campus and community activities include free weekly “Tone Up Tuesday” and “Fit Friday” classes that focus on healthy eating and exercise, and monthly grocery store tours that culminate in healthy cooking classes.


Jones County Junior College


With grant funds provided by the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation for period two of the Next Steps in Health initiative, Jones County Junior College expanded the campus wellness center to include additional cardiovascular and strength-building fitness equipment for use by members of the campus and community. Convection countertop ovens were purchased for residence halls for the purpose of conducting healthy cooking classes with tasting opportunities.


Meridian Community College


In partnership with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, Meridian Community College is nurturing a culture of health and wellness through the Smart, Well, Fit, Campus, Community initiative. The college is creating a sustainable healthy environment by adopting a tobacco-free policy and making walking and fitness classes available to individuals on campus and the surrounding community.


Mississippi College


For period three of the Wellness for Life initiative at Mississippi College, combination ovens replaced deep fat fryers in the campus cafeteria for the preparation of healthier meals, and a standard was developed for including only healthy snack options in vending machines. For members of the campus and community, exercise classes were expanded to include kickboxing and circuit training.


Mississippi Delta Community College


Health and wellness is primary at Mississippi Delta Community College as evidenced by the Delta Fit initiative designed to encourage healthy eating and exercise among members of the campus and community. For period two of the initiative, health and wellness education materials and a mobile nutrition lab are infused with lesson plans to teach healthy meal preparation to members of the campus and community. Delta Fit also includes plans for a youth summer camp to educate students on the importance of living healthy lifestyles.


Mississippi State University


The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation continues its support of the MSU on the Move initiative at Mississippi State University. The initiative, created in partnership with the Foundation in 2013, includes health and wellness programs to impact individuals on campus and in the surrounding communities and schools. The expansion of free fitness classes provides opportunities for members of the campus and community to participate in a number of new activities such as “WalkFit,” “Healthy Dawgs,” and “Women on Weights.” A “Health Heroes” program is in place to recognize and reward students, faculty, staff and administrators for being health and wellness role models. The health-focused “Youth Dawgs” summer camp is available for elementary students, and the University is working in the Starkville and Oktibbeha County public schools and private schools to educate students in grades K-5 about the importance of selecting fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy snacks.


Mississippi University for Women


Mississippi University for Women continues to lead the way in campus, community and school health and wellness programming through the Passport to Wellness initiative. For period four of the initiative, free community classes offer lessons related to healthy food preparation and cooking, and a youth summer camp focusing on the importance of physical activity and healthy nutrition is available for elementary school students. A bike share program provides students and employees with bikes to ride on campus and in town to increase physical activity. Passport to Wellness also works with the Columbus and Lowndes County school districts to provide a summer healthy teaching certification program for area educators.


Mississippi Valley State University


The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation continues its support of the Valley in Motion initiative at Mississippi Valley State University. The initiative, created in partnership with the Foundation in 2014, includes innovative health and wellness programs and resources that impact individuals on campus and extends into the local community and school district. A tobacco-free university, Mississippi Valley State University added a bicycle path and made bicycles available to students, faculty, staff and administrators to encourage physical fitness. The university’s “Valley Kids in Motion” youth summer camp has a focus on healthy eating and exercise and is available to students in grades K-5.


University of Mississippi


RebelWell, the comprehensive wellness initiative for the University of Mississippi in partnership with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, continues to make strides in creating a wellness culture that extends from the campus to the local communities and schools. Some of the goals for period four of the initiative include expanding healthy eating and exercise programs in two school districts, providing nutritional education to individuals through counseling sessions and cooking demonstrations, and highlighting and rewarding health and wellness role models from the campus and community. To encourage the community-at-large to adopt healthy lifestyles, RebelWell hosts a variety of free exercise classes through the “Saturday Pop Up Fitness” program available to residents of the City of Oxford and Lafayette County. Other healthy nutrition and fitness activities hosted by RebelWell include cooking classes in residence halls, outdoor trail challenges, family activity days, and 5K events.




Building Healthy Schools


Grenada Upper Elementary School - 2017 Healthiest School


Taking top honors as the “Healthiest School in Mississippi” for 2017, Grenada Upper Elementary School has made significant progress in enhancing its wellness goals. Health screenings, nutrition education and fitness classes are available for faculty and staff at no cost. Students are taught the value of health and are given opportunities for short bouts of exercise during the school day. Vending machines available to students, faculty and staff offer only healthy beverage and snack items. Thirty-six faculty and staff members participated in a healthy eating and exercise program during school hours and lost a combined 815 pounds during the first six months of the program. With innovative programming such as the “Walk with the Principals” campaign to promote daily exercise, the school is building a sustainable model for individuals who want to live healthy lifestyles. Grenada Upper Elementary School is a true role model of health and wellness for schools across Mississippi.


Columbia Elementary School - 2017 Healthy School


Columbia Elementary School is committed to health and wellness in alignment with one of the overreaching strategic goals established by the Columbia School District. The “Health is Academic” incentive program reinforces healthy behaviors to impact students’ academic achievement as studies show health and learning go hand-in-hand. Daily fitness activities are offered to students that include martial arts, archery and planting and harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables in the school’s garden. Fun fitness and nutrition challenges are available for faculty, staff and parents, such as afternoon exercise group classes and healthy cooking classes that provide recipes and tasting opportunities.


Pass Christian Elementary School - 2017 Healthy School


Located on the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast as part of the Pass Christian School District, Pass Christian Elementary School thrives on providing an environment where students learn the importance of healthy eating and exercise. In-class physical activity breaks are encouraged to allow students to participate in short bouts of exercise before returning to their studies. Faculty and staff use fitness bands attached to the bottom of their desks to incorporate movement while seated. To encourage health and wellness, a yoga and walking club is available to faculty and staff after school hours, and monthly incentives are available to teachers who participate in school wellness activities and have perfect attendance.


Fitness Equipment and Health Curricula


In 2017, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation provided grants to implement a fitness equipment and health curricula program from the Project Fit America organization in an additional 32 schools in Mississippi, bringing the total to 240 schools funded for the program. The fitness equipment and health curricula program includes indoor and outdoor exercise equipment, physical education curricula and onsite training for P.E. teachers. Schools receiving the program record BMI and fitness data at the start and end of the school year for two years.


  • Ackerman Elementary School
  • Agricola Elementary School
  • Anniston Elementary School
  • Buckatunna Elementary School
  • Clinton Christian Academy
  • Coffeeville Elementary School
  • Crossroads Elementary School
  • Davidson Elementary School
  • D'Iberville Elementary School
  • East Marion Elementary School
  • East Sunflower Elementary School
  • Heritage Academy
  • Houlka Attendance Center
  • Ingomar Attendance Center
  • Jonestown Elementary School
  • Jumpertown Elementary School
  • Longleaf Elementary School
  • Lyon Elementary School
  • Mannsdale Upper Elementary School
  • Mantachie Elementary School
  • Neshoba Central Elementary School
  • Nicholson Elementary School
  • Oak Park Elementary School
  • Pearl River County Upper Elementary School
  • Ripley Elementary School
  • Sherard Elementary School
  • South Pontotoc Elementary School
  • Southhaven Intermediate School
  • Summit Elementary School
  • Tremont Attendance Center
  • Wheeler Attendance Center
  • Woolmarket Elementary School

Physical Education Conference


The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation hosted its 9th Annual Physical Education Conference bringing together 20 elementary and 20 middle school physical education teachers from around the state. The two-day conference was held for elementary teachers on day one and middle school teachers on day two. The teachers participated in educational sessions 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.


  • Batesville Middle School
  • B.F. Liddell Elementary School
  • Brinkley Middle School
  • Clara School
  • Clarksdale Elementary School
  • Crystal Springs Middle School
  • East Jones Elementary School
  • Eiland Middle School
  • Fair Elementary School
  • Fifth Street Junior High School
  • George Washington Carver Middle School
  • Hardy Middle School
  • Houston Middle School
  • Leake Central Elementary School
  • Magee Elementary School
  • Magnolia Middle School
  • Mannsdale Lower Elementary School
  • Nettleton Upper Elementary School
  • New Hope Elementary School
  • North Jones Elementary School
  • Olde Towne Middle School
  • Orange Grove Elementary School
  • Pearl River Central Middle School
  • Petal Middle School
  • Petal Upper Elementary School
  • Pineville Elementary School
  • Plantersville Elementary School
  • Purvis Middle School
  • Rod Paige Middle School
  • Southeast Lauderdale Elementary School
  • Stokes Beard Elementary School
  • S.V. Marshall Elementary School
  • Warren Central Junior High School
  • Wayne Central School
  • Waynesboro Riverview School
  • West Jones Elementary School
  • West Lauderdale Elementary School
  • West Lowndes Elementary School
  • William Winans Middle School