Blue Cross Partners With Universities
Delta State University, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University, The University of Southern Mississippi, and the University of Mississippi to share ideas and to develop best practices for implementing health and wellness cultures for Mississippi’s eight publically-funded universities.
During a recent Summit, leaders collaborated on a University and College Health and Wellness Model, developed from the successful Healthy Campus/Community Initiative implemented at Delta State University. The model was conceived from the initial partnership between Delta State University and the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation and provides the basis for a focus on campus health and wellness.
“Support from and partnership with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation has enabled Delta State University and the surrounding community to evolve into a flagship campus for health and wellness in Mississippi,” said Dr. Leslie Griffin, Dean, College of Education, Delta State University. “It is most gratifying to now move forward in helping others to establish such a culture.”
“By developing campus-wide health and wellness cultures, universities and colleges are in a unique position to positively impact the health of all Mississippians,” said Sheila Grogan, Executive Director of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. “We’ve seen tremendous success so far at Delta State University, as well as at other colleges and universities, and we envision this trend continuing across the state.”
“The Summit provided an opportunity for representatives from all eight publically-funded colleges and universities to collaborate around health and wellness,” said Kate Brown, Director, Center for Creative Learning, Mississippi University for Women. “The new model provides a framework for changing the culture of wellness at Mississippi University for Women, and I look forward to participating with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation to improve health and wellness at MUW and in the Columbus community.”
The University and College Health and Wellness Model is built on the foundation of top-level university leaders’ support of health and wellness cultures on campuses that extend into the surrounding communities and schools. The leadership committees overseeing the initiative at the universities will include city leaders, healthcare providers, and school officials. The initiative encourages universities to offer students classes on the importance of healthy eating and physical activity, with one-on-one guidance in developing and achieving personal health goals. Other elements of the initiative include the universities having tobacco-free campuses and providing access to opportunities for physical exercise, as well as healthy meal and snack options. The initiative will also extend into the surrounding communities and schools, providing opportunities for physical activity, health seminars and screenings, and a community-wide smoke-free ordinance.
The universities that attended the Summit were encouraged to continue their collaborative efforts as they submit their plans to implement healthy cultures, with a commitment of support from the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.
The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is providing targeted grants to support the implementation of the University and College Health and Wellness Model. To learn more about the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, visit www.healthiermississippi.org.