A Local Initiative in Jackson, MS

About the Project:

Mississippi will be convening one training in the greater Jackson area. The site's focus is on the recruitment of healthcare professionals from the tri-county area of Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties as well as select partners from other areas of the state. The Mississippi site leads are recruiting healthcare professionals through presentations and exhibits at professional/educational meetings, health fair exhibits, community and personal connections. All recruits are being surveyed regarding their community needs as well as their preferred area of focus. Mississippi will use this information to better focus their training and for use in the development of a referral directory for their healthcare professionals.

Success Stories:

- Mississippi's Be Our Voice Obesity Advocacy project is offering mini-grants of $500 for those individuals (and/or organizations) interested in providing a targeted effort to address pediatric obesity in their community. See the Request for Proposals (RFP) document by clicking here. Brief proposals are due to the MS Chapter AAP by the close of business on January 16, 2012. More details are found in the RFP.


Customized Advocacy Resource Guide:

A customized version of the Be Our Voice guide has been developed to assist in training local advocates. Local government structures and processes, data, media resources, and other grantees specific to Mississippi are included. Download the Mississippi Advocacy Resource Guide (PDF).

Key Data:

  • Population: 440,000
  • Demographics:
    • Hinds County: 66.2% African American; 31.8% Caucasian
    • Madison County: 4.9% African American; 92.8% Caucasian
    • Rankin County: 19.8% African American; 78.2% Caucasian
  • Obesity prevalence: According to the National Child Health Survey, 44% of children are overweight or obese in the state of Mississippi.
  • Education: Approximately 27% of metro Jackson-area residents has a bachelor's degree or higher

Policy Focus:

The overall focus of the site's efforts will be on healthy eating and active living within Jackson metropolitan area schools. Advocates will be activated to work more closely with seven public school districts in the tri-county region of Central Mississippi and will be encouraged to foster two-way communication and collaboration with local school health councils to ensure children in the greater Jackson Metropolitan area are exposed to healthy food, consistent with health and physical education, and healthier activities and food choices within their schools. 


The MS team will be partnering with the MS Department of Health, MS Department of Education's Office of Healthy Schools, school nurses, nutritionists, Head Start staff, community health centers and clinicians, the Campaign for Healthy Children, YMCA, pediatricians, pediatric and med./ped. residents, nurses and nurse practitioners and health educators.


Project Lead: Dr. Gerri Cannon-Smith and Gretchen Mahan
School of Health Sciences at Jackson State University; Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

NICHQ: Jenna Williams, Project Manager