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

South Sunflower County Hospital Foundation

With a generous grant provided by the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation to the South Sunflower County Hospital Foundation, residents of Indianola, Sunflower County and surrounding counties can participate in engaging activities designed to help individuals and families lead healthy lifestyles. The Indianola Community Wellness Center will feature a fully-equipped fitness center for exercise opportunities, a teaching kitchen for healthy nutrition and cooking classes, classrooms where participants can learn practical ways to lead healthy lifestyles and a community room for healthy living activities.

Click here to learn more about the Indianola Community Wellness Center.

City of Lexington - 2019 Healthy Hometown

In its inaugural year as a Healthy Hometown contender, the City of Lexington made significant progress in creating a healthy living and working environment for its residents. Members of the Lexington Healthy Hometown Committee share the common goal of making healthy living a priority and have adopted environmental ordinances and policies, reduced tobacco use and provided ongoing fun community physical fitness classes and events.

City of Quitman - 2019 Healthy Hometown

The City of Quitman is focused on creating a healthy place to live, work and play. Municipal leaders and Healthy Hometown Committee members incorporated approaches to ensure healthy school environments by offering a range of competitive and non-competitive physical fitness challenges. To promote healthy eating, the city provided green space for community gardens and edible orchards, and to encourage physical activity, installed bicycle lanes and added bicycle parking.

City of Tupelo - 2019 Healthy Hometown

Since receiving Healthy Hometown Awards in 2010 and 2012, the City of Tupelo sustained and even enriched community wellness initiatives by providing access to healthier foods and promoting physical fitness opportunities. The Tupelo Healthy Hometown Committee established goals to promote health and well-being, and the city took steps to create and adopt ordinances and policies to support healthy lifestyles.

University and College Tobacco-Free Campus Policies Strengthened

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation invited top levels of leadership from Mississippi’s publicly-funded universities and community colleges to engage with healthcare and education experts about improving the health and well-being of students and personnel by strengthening smoke-free and tobacco-free policies. Following this collaborative, twelve universities and colleges requested and received Foundation grant funds to explore opportunities to implement, enhance and enforce tobacco and electronic smoking device control actions on their respective campuses.

Mississippi State University

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation provided a grant to Mississippi State University (MSU) for period three of the Wellness Coach Internship Program led by Dr. Will Evans, head of the Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion. Top-tier graduate students selected for this innovative program complete required course work, followed by rotations at MSU’s health center. Then, they are assigned to a Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Blue Primary Care Home to complete their internships as Wellness Coaches. Students completing the program will receive a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Health Promotion and Wellness Coaching.

Northwest Mississippi Community College

Northwest Mississippi Community College is making health and wellness an integral part of campus culture. With Foundation grant funds, the college purchased new cardiovascular and strength-building

Healthy Heroes Program

In 2019, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation provided grant funding for the Healthy Heroes Program in six municipalities, bringing the total number of program participants to 28 cities and one county. 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, police officers and firefighters visit 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. The cities funded for the Healthy Heroes Program in 2019 include:

Mississippi Community College Foundation

A comprehensive wellness program for the Mississippi Community College Foundation is designed for the advancement of health, nutrition, exercise and individual wellness among employees of the Research and Development Complex in Jackson. Known as the “Community Challenge for Change” or “C3” initiative, a bike share program is available for moving around campus for meetings and events. The on-site wellness center is outfitted with cardiovascular and strength building physical fitness equipment, and healthy nutrition education and cooking classes are available to employees and their families.

Building Healthy Schools

Poplarville Lower Elementary School - 2019 Healthiest School

Poplarville Lower Elementary School won a Healthy School Award in 2018 and continued its success by being named “Mississippi’s Healthiest School” in 2019. With health and wellness as one of Poplarville School District’s overall strategic goals, policies were adopted to integrate health education into all subject areas. School leaders and school health council members collaborate to ensure faculty, staff, students and their families have opportunities to participate in healthy eating and exercise activities such as gardening, archery and after-school fitness classes. Physical activity breaks are encouraged in the classroom to allow students to participate in short bouts of exercise before returning to their studies, and school personnel have access to an on-site fitness room that includes cardiovascular and strength building exercise equipment.

Columbia Primary School - 2019 Healthy School

Aligned with one of the overall strategic goals established by the Columbia School District, Columbia Primary School promotes health and wellness to impact students’ academic achievement as studies show health and learning go hand-in-hand. School leaders and school health council members work together to improve the health of school personnel, students and their families. At Columbia Primary School, students begin each day with fun physical activities such as climbing the rock walls, exercising at circuit stations or walking the hallways that are creatively marked as a walking track. Fitness challenges and events are available for school personnel with recognition and incentives for those demonstrating improvement in health.

Oak Park Elementary School - 2019 Healthy School

Located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast as part of the Ocean Springs School District, Oak Park Elementary School is a role model of health and wellness for schools across Mississippi. School district leaders and school health council members are building a sustainable culture of health and wellness that promotes health education, healthy nutrition and physical fitness. In the school cafeteria, fryers were replaced with combination ovens, making menu options healthier. Many of the school’s teachers are certified fitness instructors who lead after-school exercise classes and wellness challenges for school personnel.

Starkville Oktibbeha County School District

For the Starkville Oktibbeha County School District, a partnership with Mississippi State University is providing the district's sixth and seventh grade students with new and meaningful learning opportunities. Supported by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation grant funds, the goal is to build a successful, sustainable school model for healthy living. The major components of hte school's health and wellness model are:

School Garden Program

In 2019, the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation awarded school garden grants to 31 Mississippi K-12 schools. School gardens offer hands-on learning as it provides opportunities for students to observe everything from seeding to harvesting to tasting, which helps them understand how healthy foods grow. Teachers are connecting the school garden with classroom curricula such as science, math, reading, culinary art, and physical education so students can learn about healthy cooking, eating and environmental sustainability.

Physical Education Conference

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation hosted its 11th Annual Physical Education Conference bringing together 41 physical education teachers from around the state. The teachers participated in educational sessions and shared best practices for engaging students and making P.E. classes both exciting and effective. Provided with Foundation grant funds, participants received indoor physical fitness equipment and curricula to enhance their schools’ P.E. programs. The physical fitness equipment included weighted hoops, stability balls, heavy ropes and more along with corresponding curricula designed to help P.E. teachers find imaginative and innovative ways to get students moving.

  • Amory Middle School
  • Beechwood Elementary School
  • Brandon Elementary School
  • Carver Elementary School
  • Columbia Elementary School
  • D. T. Cox Elementary School
  • Dundee Elementary School
  • East Webster Elementary School
  • Eva Gordon Upper Elementary School
  • Florence Middle School
  • Franklin Upper Elementary School
  • Galena Elementary School
  • H. W. Byers Elementary School
  • Houston Upper Elementary School
  • Kosciusko Middle School
  • Lawhon Elementary School
  • Luther Branson Elementary School
  • Lyman Elementary School
  • Madison Avenue Upper Elementary School
  • New Albany Elementary School
  • Oak Grove Central Elementary School
  • O'Bannon Elementary School
  • Pearl Upper Elementary School
  • Pontotoc Middle School
  • Popp's Ferry Elementary School
  • Quitman Upper Elementary School
  • Rueben B. Myers Canton School of Arts & Sciences
  • Richland Elementary School
  • Richland Upper Elementary School
  • Ruleville Central Elementary School
  • Senatobia Elementary School
  • Shadow Oaks Elementary School
  • Shirley Simmons Middle School
  • South Delta Elementary School
  • South Hancock Elementary School
  • South Perry Elementary School
  • St. Martin East Elementary School
  • Stone County Middle School
  • T. R. Sanders Elementary School
  • Van Winkle Elementary School
  • Walls Elementary School