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Welcome to The Public Health Connect, Mississippi Public Health Institute's new monthly newsletter. 
 

Each month, we'll update you on what we're working on, provide statewide updates on public health trends and policy, and invite you to connect with us about your public health projects and needs. If a friend or colleague forwarded you this email, please subscribe below. 

Once again, we're back in the throes of a dangerous new COVID-19 wave. Mississippi's coronavirus hospitalizations are up more than 300% from the start of the month and deaths are rising for the first time since February of this year, according to data from the MSDH. This issue, we're highlighting intervention efforts to get more Mississippians vaccinated and help cap the Delta variant spread. 
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Last month marked MSPHI's 10th Anniversary! We'd like to thank all of our stakeholders for your support in our work to cultivate partnerships that bolster and advance program innovation and health equity while increasing the accessibility and impact of health resources, education, health awareness, and applied research and policy.
 
In honor of our anniversary, we redesigned our website and caught up with two people integral to our success, former State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier and her successor, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, who discuss the importance of public health partnerships. See our chat, as well as a thank you message from Roy Hart and Glenda Crump, below.
 
"To do good public health work, we have to have partnerships ... we're very fortunate to have a Public Health Institute in Mississippi because they really broaden our capabilities of responding."

- Dr. Thomas Dobbs, State Health Officer

A special thanks to all of our stakeholders who've supported our decade of improving Mississippians' health.
MSPHI funds five vaccination programs on the Coast
In June, MSPHI awarded five grants to community-based organizations on the Coast, which remains one of the most unvaccinated areas with only 26% of the region inoculated against COVID-19.  Funding for these grants was provided through the REACH COVID/Flu Vaccination Supplement from CDC’s Office of Immunizations:
  • Magnolia Medical Foundation will survey Coast residents to determine reasons for vaccine hesitancy and build a communications campaign based on findings
  • Morning Star Baptist Church will focus on vaccine education to those 65 and older within the congregations of faith-based organizations
  • Climb Community Development Corporation will focus vaccine education efforts on teens and young adults through the use of social media tools
  • Extend a Hand Help a Friend, Inc. will provide targeted vaccine education to children who are engaged in youth programs
  • Moss Point Visionary Circle will focus vaccination efforts in Moss Point
New healthcare worker resources as Delta surges
Project Firstline is a collaboration between MSPHI, CDC, and MSDH to provide healthcare workers education on infection control. Resources include: graphics showing the mechanics of viral spread, such as respiratory droplets, and how to safely reuse a multi-dose vaccine vial; webinars reviewing PPE protocol and disinfection guidelines; and, training videos, podcasts and social media cards. Please feel free to use and share these resources.

In designing this collaboration, CDC aims to help every frontline healthcare worker, regardless of their training or education, feel they can confidently apply infection control to protect themselves, their facility, their family, and their community.

Public health news across Mississippi

  • Public Health Programs Welcome First Epidemiologist to Faculty (UM News, 7/13/21):  The School of Applied Sciences at the University of Mississippi has hired Victoria Zigmont as the first epidemiologist in its public health and health sciences programs, who'll teach courses in the university's new MPH track.
  • Judge nears decision on future of state mental health system (AP, 7/12/21): U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves is expected to rule on a remedial plan for the Mississippi State Department of Mental Health in the near future. He recently heard from Hogan and lawyers representing the state of Mississippi and the United States Department of Justice, which successfully sued the state two years ago when Reeves ruled Mississippi was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • An inside look at how doctors in Mississippi are identifying the coronavirus variants (MPB, 7/6/21): At the University of Mississippi Medical Center, a state-of-the-art research lab is sequencing dozens of coronavirus samples to see if they are variants. Most samples they work with are collected by the medical center, but they also have surveillance partnerships with the Department of Health and the CDC.
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