Mississippi State President Dr. Mark E. Keenum, right, and University of Mississippi Medical Center Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. LouAnn Woodward signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday to formalize a partnership addressing many of the state's most critical health care challenges. Looking on is Dr. Bettina Beech, UMMC's associate vice chancellor for population health and executive director of the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities. Photo by: Megan Bean/Mississippi State University
April 19, 2016 10:00:41 AM
Representatives of Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi Medical Center signed an agreement on Monday to expand ongoing research collaborations combating health care disparity in the state.
The two entities have working programs aimed at preparing new doctors for rural service and improving the health of young children and minorities in the state. The memorandum of understanding promises new projects with the assistance of the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities at UMMC, which focuses on children's and minority issues, HIV/AIDS and cancer.
MSU President Mark Keenum praised the partnership and said its continued efforts could lead to a better life for Mississippians whose health care options suffer from social and economic barriers.
"We know that there is power in partnerships, and we look forward to melding the efforts of our two institutions to achieve more on behalf of Mississippi's most disadvantaged citizens than we could hope to achieve separately," he said.
Signing the agreement on behalf of UMMC was Dr. LouAnn Woodward, the vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of its school of medicine. Woodward, who holds a bachelor's degree from MSU, said she was pleased to see two organizations come together, no matter which school colors their representatives wear on game days.
The agreement is "a vehicle to make inroads" toward better health care opportunities, she said.
Existing MSU-UMMC partnerships include the following:
■ MSU graduate students participate in UMMC's Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities and Office of Population Health's Rural Interdisciplinary Case Experience (RICE) Bowl, which provides an experimental learning opportunity for students to address complex rural health issues;
■ The Rural Medical Scholars Program, in which aspiring physicians are prepared for work in rural areas;
■ a MSU Extension-UMMC partnership delivering the Community Health Advocate curriculum through the 4-H Junior Master Wellness Volunteer Program;
■ a collaboration between MSU's Social Science Research Center (SRRC) and UMMC's Department of Pediatrics toward children's health, education and mental health issues;
■ and MSU's Department of Sociology-led project examining childhood obesity in the state.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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