Sun Safety for You and Your Community

Sun Safety for You and Your Community

School’s out, and so is the sun, all day long. While outdoor activity is important for good health, too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Prevention is a crucial component of a culture of health. Preventing skin cancer requires protection from UV rays all year, not just during the summer. UV rays can reach you on cloudy and cool days, and they reflect off surfaces like water, cement, and sand. There are many ways to protect yourself from the sun, and it’s important to use more than just one.

What You Can Do For Yourself.

Timing: In Mississippi, peak summer sun is usually from 10 AM to 5 PM. Avoid lengthy outdoor activities during this time, and ensure you have extra protection during these hours.

Shade: Shade from trees, umbrellas, tents, or shelters provides a lot of UV protection. Depending on the type of tree or fabric that creates the shade, this can be as effective as a weak or strong sunscreen. It’s important to use sunscreen even when you’re in the shade.

Clothing: While specialty clothing for sun protection does exist, all clothing provides some protection from the sun. Long sleeves and pants protect more than short, and dry clothing protects better than wet. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. Use cover-ups to protect yourself at the beach or when you frequently go from pool to poolside.

Hat: The wider the rim, the more protection a hat will offer. Hats, rather than caps, have the added benefit of also protecting your ears. If you’re wearing a cap, protect the back of your neck with clothing and/or sunscreen.

Sunglasses: Your eyes are vulnerable to the sun as well! Not only your eyeballs, but the sensitive skin around them. Sunglasses can help.

Sunscreen: Remember the sunscreen! Put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen that filters out UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher before you go outside. Put a thick layer on all exposed skin. Remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options.

What You Can Do for Your Community

See which of these 19 Evidence-Based Cancer Control Programs (EBCCPs) are best for your community.

Two effective points of contact for sharing sun safety information are schools and workplaces.

For more information, visit the CDC page on sun safety.

To determine if your public health programs are evidence-based, HHS runs a program called The Community Guide. TheirWhat Works” fact sheets cover a wide variety of topics in public health, including skin cancer prevention.

If you know of someone out there who is working hard to make Mississippi a healthier place, let us know!

Partner Spotlight: The Department of Mental Health and the Continuum of Care

Partner Spotlight: The Department of Mental Health and the Continuum of Care

2024 is the 75th anniversary of Mental Health Awareness Month. There are myriad connections between physical health, mental health, and the community. The social determinants of health, one of UProot’s two priority areas, affect mental health as much as they do physical health. 

The Continuum of Care

For the Mississippi State Department of Mental Health, the continuum of care (CoC) is for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

The DMH CoC provides three layers of care: Someone to talk to, someone to respond, and somewhere to go. The first layer, “someone to talk to,” is in the form of the national 988 hotline, and also a statewide DMH crisis line.

Someone to Talk To

The first layer of the CoC should be the one with the widest reach, the one that is easiest to access. For DMH, it’s as simple as a phone call, text message, or web chat. An easy-to-use, public-facing point of contact is important. For most groups, a phone number, email or contact form on a website is enough.

By the way, you can contact us!

Someone to Respond

For DMH, “someone to respond” is a “Crisis Intervention Team.”  They are partnerships between law enforcement officers and various agencies, including Community Mental Health Centers, primary health providers, and other behavioral health professionals. They are well-trained in crisis situations, and unlike traditional law enforcement officers, they receive hands-on instruction in de-escalation techniques. They are there to divert individuals from a possible arrest and get them into a setting where they can receive services for their illness.

Key takeaways for community organizations can be applicable. First, crisis teams come to the people who need them. Your organization can manage this by bringing portable versions of your services to people where they work, live, or play.

The second notable feature is that it represents an escalation of involvement from the previous example.

For a group promoting breastfeeding, for example, having a single point of contact to answer questions and email or text information would be the “someone to talk to.”  Then, your second layer of preparation would be “someone to respond.”

Your organization can build a presentation in a box – with flyers, banners, posters with QR codes, promotional merch – everything a knowledgeable, trained ambassador would need.

A great example of covering both “someone to talk to” and “someone to respond” would be Move to Learn. M2L has videos available for classrooms, but can also bring fitness exercises and movement-based learning boosters to schools across Mississippi.

Some Place to Go

For DMH, the third layer of the CoC—some place to go—is a statewide network of facilities. For people in a psychiatric crisis, they have Crisis Stabilization Units, which provide stabilization and treatment services, while for more general care, there is a network of Community Mental Health Centers.

“A place to go” has been a cornerstone for many of our UProot success stories. 

Consider Operation Shoestring. Without their facility, their life-improving after school programs could not exist. Their entire service is centered around being a place for their community. 

Similarly, the ARK in Jackson is a place people can go for fitness and education. Both of these organizations offer people who can come speak and work in the community, and have singular, easy-to-use points of contact, showing that the concept of a Continuum of Care isn’t just for dedicated healthcare professionals, but for any community looking to improve their social determinants of health.

A “place to go” doesn’t have to be brick and mortar: your website can provide a resource guide, for example, and many municipalities have a community center to host programming.

Community Tips

Your organization may not need all three steps of the continuum of care. They may need more than three. Consider having more than one level of response, whatever service you provide.

This continuum does not represent all of what the Department of Mental Health does. To learn more about the Department of Mental Health and its many forms of care, visit dmh.ms.gov.

To request specialized suicide prevention presentations from the Department of Mental Health’s “Shatter the Silence” program, visit Shatter the Silence or call 601-359-1288.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, the helpline mentioned earlier is available at 1-877-210-8513, at mentalhealthms.com, or via the national 988 hotline.

If you know of someone out there who is working hard to make Mississippi a healthier place, let us know!

Utica Food Club: Fighting a Food Desert with Community Organizing

Utica Food Club: Fighting a Food Desert with Community Organizing

Access to quality food is crucial to UProot’s highest priorities: obesity and the social determinants of health (SDOH)

After a grocery store left Utica, Mississippi, residents organized to address the fact that their community had become a food desert.

Utica: From agricultural haven to food desert

Since the ’90s, the economy and population of Utica have been declining. Schools and plants closed, ending relationships with the local Sunflower grocery store and leaving fewer people to travel into town as customers. Finally, in 2014, the store closed, turning Utica into a food desert. The nearest grocery store was in Clinton, 30 miles away. 

In 2023, the Mississippi Free Press interviewed Jean Greene of Utica as part of a story on food deserts. When asked about the grocery store closure, she said, “It was an economic decision…  And so the rest of us paid the price for that economic decision.” 

Though the grocery store’s closure was the final step to becoming a food desert, it was a shock to long-time Utica residents. Like many towns in Mississippi, Utica has a long history of food production and agricultural education. 

Last century, Utica was home to the Utica Institute, founded in 1903 by William H. Holtzclaw, an agriculturalist whose mentor was Booker T. Washington. 

Holtzclaw sought to educate African Americans in Mississippi’s “Black Belt” by replicating the Tuskegee educational experience.

The Utica Institute became Utica Junior College, which merged with Hinds Community College in 1982. Until 2014, the town hosted the Hinds County Agricultural High School, part of the Hinds Community College system.

Utica only has a population of around 600. The town didn’t think a large grocer would be willing to come, so they investigated some alternatives.

The town organizes

Enter Sipp Culture, a group founded in Utica to use arts and culture to help the town solve its food crisis. They partnered with the municipal government and started a farm, a community garden, and a farmer’s market.

That was only their first step. They found another partner, the Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, and launched a program to support rural artists. This action earned them a large grant from One Nation/One Project, an organization that leverages the arts to create healthier people and communities.

“Sipp Culture believes that gathering and sharing local stories is the best way to support safe and thriving communities for the future.”

How did the community come together and start this project?

First, they gathered the community and listened. As demonstrated by Operation Shoestring, listening to the community is vital for any effort towards improving SDOH. Sipp Culture needed to see what the community wanted to do. They made sure that representatives from the culture, agriculture, business, education, and local government sectors were on hand when they held community meetings. 

Using those tools, they determined where people were shopping, and what drove their decision to do so. They discovered that people were driving up to an hour just to buy fresh meat and produce.

They then researched models for alternatives to big grocers. Many of the future members of the Utica Food Club had known of or done business with a cooperative grocery in Jackson. Others had used farmer’s markets and community gardens.

Then, they identified the items that people wanted to purchase in bulk. They focused on staple foods, which are easily transported and stored without refrigeration.

Next, they identified vendors who would sell them, and began the task of figuring out where these staple items – and harder-to-store things that would require refrigeration, could be housed. The storage question was helped by their partnership with the municipality, which knew what buildings were suitable for the project – and available.

After that, the group began to exchange information and ideas. They discussed strategies and techniques for storing and transporting food, preserving it and making bulk purchases. They coordinated those purchases, becoming a food-buying club. Food buying clubs are a way for individuals to purchase food at wholesale prices, and then split the purchases up, circumventing a traditional grocer.

While the buying club, farmer’s market, and community garden have all helped to address the food desert in Utica, there is much more to be done. For now, Sipp Culture and the Utica Food Club are researching more and seeking financial and educational support from the FDA, the USDA, and co-op support organizations. Their partnership with One Nation/One Project and the artists supported by Sipp Culture’s Rural Performance Production Lab have shown them the power of these relationships, and now they are seeking out local churches to recruit volunteers and further support.

In 2023, Sipp Culture hosted the international musical youth of OneBeat.

lessons for your community

The lessons learned from the Utica Food Club echo those of the ARK and Operation Shoestring: Teamwork and homework.

Listen to the community.

Identify partners.

Do the research.

Find a model you can emulate.

Every step was driven by community education and the equal exchange of information. Food deserts are a crisis in Mississippi, one that many UProot partners attempt to address.

If you know of someone out there who is working hard to make Mississippi a healthier place, let us know!

Operation Shoestring: Better Health through Listening

Operation Shoestring: Better Health through Listening

Nutrition, exercise, and mental health are critical when it comes to improving the health of your community.

Sometimes, finding a place to safely exercise can be hard. In 1968, this was the call to action for Operation Shoestring when local organizers wanted safe playgrounds in Jackson.

These days, Operation Shoestring is primarily known for quality after-school and summer programs for children in the neighborhoods of central Jackson. True to their history, the organization continues listening to community families for ways to help the community.

A Community Space for Connection

In addition to programming for children, Operation Shoestring offers workshops for parents. Parent programs began as a natural outgrowth of after-school activities. Organizers listened to the concerns of the parents while bringing or picking up their children and began tailoring programs to meet them.

These parents were able to guide the content of the parental workshops. Among other topics, they mentioned challenges that are familiar to public health professionals. Good food is expensive. Jobs and life leave little time for exercise. Safe places to exercise are unavailable. People need places where they can speak openly about mental health. 

“These parents are well aware of the challenges in their community,” said Alexandra Melnick, communications director at Operation Shoestring.

Parents wanted to learn ways to help handle these difficulties. They started a healthy eating workshop, which led to exercise classes, and even cooking classes where parents were offered squash, sweet potatoes, and other produce.

Qula Madkin, a registered dietitian and nutritionist teaching a healthy eating class, noted the parents’ desire to learn more. “There’s a barrier to information and how it is distributed,” Madkin said in 2023.

we all rise together

Healthy meal being prepared in a cooking class

At a class on healthy eating, parents get more than recipes: they also get fresh produce, kitchen essentials, and on-site child care.

Just as important, they get to cook, exercise, or talk together.

“Our classes are more than just a dump of information; what they need is a supportive environment,” Melnick said.

A community amplifies individual choices. When parents have a healthy diet and habits, they teach them to children. When parents try new exercises in front of others, the rest of the class learns when someone identifies what works for them.

“It lets the parents rethink their relationship with health,” Melnick said.

After all, the motto at Operation Shoestring is “We all rise together.”

Community Education Tips


If you want to support Operation Shoestring, you can. They rely 100% on the financial support of generous donors and partners. Check out their Twitter and Facebook pages, as well.

Find out how to support them here.

Have a success story of your own, or know of one? Contact us to help share the good news.

Good Homes and Good Health

Good Homes and Good Health

Social Determinants of Health are the factors that shape someone’s community: access to things like health care, education, employment, and nutrition. Those determinants aren’t just related to the outside world, however: they’re also found right in our homes. Good homes help good health. Shelter is a basic need for human beings. Extreme heat or cold can lead to stress, sickness, hospitalization, and death.

Here are some things to watch out for, and some resources that can help:

Building Contaminants

Old paint and pipes can contain lead that enters drinking water and household dust. Older building techniques and materials can release radon into the air inside a home. Leaks in the roof or pipes can cause mold, triggering asthma and other respiratory problems. Good ventilation is important for everyone.

UProot Partner Resources

The State Department of Health has information and programs for lead paint, mold, and other common contaminants.

If you want to help your community, consider hosting a healthy homes workshop through the Mississippi State University extension service.

Many factors that make a home safe and healthy are common to every dwelling. Every home and apartment needs smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. Many local fire departments offer free smoke alarms through projects administered by the state fire marshal. You can call your local fire department to find out when these offers are available.

Age-Related Home Risks

A healthy home can mean different things for different stages of life. New parents are often shown how a home can be made safer for infants and newborns.

However, falls in the home are a serious health risk among all age groups, especially for older people. For them, or for people recovering from surgery, stroke, or living with multiple sclerosis, changes like ramps, grab bars, and safety railings can prevent serious falls. For people with vision problems, lighting may need adjusting.

UProot Partner Resources

Hospital and medical care case workers can help you plan changes to make your home safer. The Mississippi Access to Care Network can help you find services for modifying homes for older adults. Go to the MAC website, search for services, check “home modifications” in the “services” box, and select the county of your choice.

Quality of Life

The physical condition of a house isn’t the only thing that affects the health of the people who live there. The condition of the neighborhood also has a role to play. Neighborhoods with properly maintained sidewalks encourage walking and fitness. Trees lower summer temperatures and improve moods. Parks and playgrounds get people outdoors and socially engaged. Lung-damaging air pollution tends to concentrate near factories and traffic.

Finally, the affordability of housing has an impact on health. Money spent on rent cannot be spent on quality food, medication, or doctor visits. Health can suffer when a large amount of income is tied up in rent.

Read a Success Story about how one neighborhood is improving its health through community gardening.

Do you have something to share about ways that communities can become healthier for their residents? Let us know about it!

Solutions for Food Insecurity Will Take Many Partners: 2023 Mississippi Hunger Summit

Solutions for Food Insecurity Will Take Many Partners: 2023 Mississippi Hunger Summit

The 2023 Mississippi Hunger Summit was an example of Mississippi public health organizations doing what they do best: coming together as partners to address our state’s critical issues.

In October 2023, the University of Mississippi CREW (Community First Research Center for Wellbeing & Creative Achievement) hosted the Mississippi Hunger Summit. Food access was a key component of the summit. As shown in presentations, food insecurity is an issue with effects that affect everything from mental health to education performance to obesity and health outcomes. With so many issues affected, welcoming input from a wide range of partners offers the best opportunity for innovative solutions.

One of the pillars of our work at UProot (you can read about it in our State Health Improvement Plan) is to tackle Food Insecurity. Food Insecurity is when people do not have enough quality food to ensure their health. This can mean insufficient food, or that the only available food does not provide the variety and nutrition required for good health.

Food Insecurity is linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, stroke, and dementia. It also has a direct link to obesity. The reason is simple: When good food is hard to come by, families have no choice but to eat poorly. You can measure the accessibility of fresh, wholesome food in an area, and in many places in Mississippi, a lack of this constitutes what is known as aFood Desert.The distribution of these areas makes Food Insecurity a classic example of a Social Determinant of Health (SDOH).

Watch a clip from the opening remarks here:

Food Insecurity and Mental Health

Since hunger touches on many aspects of health, there was much to discuss, including the role of hunger and food insecurity on mental health. There are many connections between nutrition and mental health. Some are more obvious, such as the role of blood sugar in alertness or how the brain uses B vitamins and omega acids. Others are less obvious. Scott Hambleton, MD, Medical Director of the Mississippi Health Plan, also discussed the connection between the gut and the brain, a new area of interest that may become a powerful way of understanding mental and physical health that links both to the conditions in a community.

Food Insecurity’s Effects on Children

Children are especially vulnerable to food insecurity. The interplay between mental health, physical health, and the environment is precisely the sort of scenario that the SDOH concept attempts to address. 

From Dr. Hambleton’s presentation; “Nourishing the Mind: The Connection Between Nutrition and Mental Health”

Uproot Partners in Action

Several UProot partners attended. The Mississippi Food Network presented information about food pantry resources.

From MS Food Network Presentation

While many people want to help with food insecurity, it takes skill to provide food safely and effectively for many people. These requirements, why they are in place, and what they achieve, were the focus of one of MFN’s presentations. 

The 430 agencies that are part of the Mississippi Food Network are a testament to the number of people helping with food insecurity in Mississippi. It’s a big problem, and one a large number of Mississippians are eager to end.

To learn more about how to partner with the Mississippi Food Network, go to their website.

View a slideshow of photos from the 2023 Hunger Summit here.

You can help, too. UProot is all about ways to build a healthier Mississippi

Education: A Tool to Tackle Diabetes

Education: A Tool to Tackle Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month, which focuses on diabetes prevention. Learning about simple lifestyle and nutrition tips can help manage or even prevent the onset of diabetes for Mississippians. We can all benefit when we educate ourselves about diabetes.

First, the basics: there are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes usually develops early in life, due to genetics and the environment. It cannot be prevented. This type is rare: only one in two hundred people has type one diabetes. One in seven Mississippians is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 develops later in life as a response to insulin levels brought on by obesity, a lack of physical activity, and genetics. There are more than twice as many people with diabetes in Mississippi than live in Jackson.

Misunderstandings about diabetes and its dangers persist. You may have heard “diabetes isn’t that bad” from someone who’s had it for years and keeps saying “well, it hasn’t killed me yet.”

Yet diabetes can lead to death, blindness, and amputation. But most insidiously, diabetes makes other health problems harder to treat, from high blood pressure to simple wounds. It dramatically increases your risk of other health conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. 

New treatments and techniques are successful at putting type 2 diabetes into remission. These days, type 2 diabetes – the kind that develops later in life – can be put into remission with a regimen of medication, weight loss, and exercise. People are finding freedom. The earlier you start these interventions, the more effective they are, so it’s vital to get regular checkups from a health care provider. The Mississippi State Department of Health offers free blood glucose checks at every county health department. Walk-ins are welcome, or you may call 855‑767‑0170 to schedule an appointment. 

A final misconception is that the lifestyle changes that prevent and manage diabetes are too complicated or difficult for the average person to achieve. 

While the changes can seem daunting at first, most of them are small, sensible, and available to people at any age. The Mississippi State Department of Health offers free, small group, classes to address the challenges of preventing and managing diabetes. To learn more about these offerings visit www.healthyms.com/diabetes 

These changes become a part of our culture when Mississippians come together to support each other in making positive changes. Uproot Mississippi, a collaborative effort between nearly a hundred partner organizations across the state, works to build a culture of health in Mississippi. If you think you need help figuring out which steps are right for you, and how to take them, there are lots of individuals and communities across the state providing homegrown inspiration. Visit www.uprootms.org/ican  for more information.

The ARK in Jackson: Bringing More Than Just Fitness

The ARK in Jackson: Bringing More Than Just Fitness

Exercise is a crucial part of the fight against obesity in Mississippi. But for many, finding a place to exercise is difficult. Challenges finding places to exercise in one’s community is a clear example of a social determinant of health.

Creating a healthy space is one of many reasons why New Horizon Church in Jackson opened The Ark in October. The Ark is in the vein of YMCA: more than just a gym, it’s a place for empowering people through sports and fitness. The Ark also offers a broad spectrum of education about more topics than just health. To help their community get healthy, the Ark provides multiple basketball courts, a climbing wall, spaces for weight training, cardio equipment, and meeting rooms.

Training equipment at The Arc

As we discussed in early November, exercise is vital not just for preventing diabetes and obesity, but for managing them as well. It also has myriad benefits for other aspects of health, including balance, mobility, and mental health.

But the Ark is about more than just exercise. “Come here and dream again,” is what Dr. Adrianne L. Swinney, Executive Director, said of The Ark. “We want it to be inspiring. Visions do matter.”

Art by Derek Perkins in one of the public spaces at The Ark

Seven years ago, the Ark was a shuttered Sams warehouse that the local community had been trying to find a use for.

As part of that community, New Horizon Ministries was in a good position to help turn the old warehouse into something new and vibrant. Representative Ronnie Crudup, Jr., the Executive Director of New Horizon Ministries, worked with the ministry and the local community so that the ministry could purchase the warehouse, and transform it into the Ark.

The space and the staff currently focus on youth basketball, with three basketball courts and three basketball development specialists under the guidance of Coach Charles Lewis. The coaching team teaches children and keeps them active, instilling values and habits that can help them be healthier and happier for life. They also manage a community basketball league for youth and adults.

Basketball courts at The Ark

We asked Dr. Swinney what she would say to any community that wanted to achieve something similar in their neighborhood. “Start with a vision. Write it down, research it, identify those who want to help make it happen by investing in the vision, and find a location. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You just have to get started. We started with one basketball court.” Dr. Swinney said.

And now there are three, with plans for expansion. They aim to provide more space, more events, and new facilities for different sports that kids might not otherwise be exposed to.

We’re proud to spotlight The Ark as an example of how community organizations can create better health in our state. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates on their work!

Have a success story of your own? Send it to us! Contact us to get started.

Outdoor Autumn Exercise in Mississippi

Outdoor Autumn Exercise in Mississippi

Take an opportunity to go outside and exercise in the fabulous fall weather that November brings to Mississippi. 

Diabetes and Exercise

Moderate physical activity is one easy step that can address obesity. Obesity is a priority for the latest State Health Improvement Plan because it can lead to a host of chronic health diseases, including diabetes. November is National Diabetes Month, so it’s a good time to spread the word that physical activity is a crucial component to preventing and managing diabetes. 

It doesn’t take a lot: 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise, like walking at a good pace, can lower your blood sugar and blood pressure.

Fortunately, Mississippi has a variety of good outdoor activities, no matter where you are in the state. You can check out Visit Mississippi for more ideas. 

Outdoor Exercise Ideas in Mississippi

The Museum Trail

In Central Mississippi, try the Museum Trail, which covers 1.5 miles between High Street and the Pearl River in Jackson. If you keep a moderate pace and go all the way there and back again, you’ll get an hour of exercise, so if you’re only after 30 minutes, turn around after you’ve seen the murals under Fortification Street. You can park at High Street near the Farmer’s Market.

Tanglefoot Trail

In North Mississippi, you might want to get your bike or your walking shoes and try the Tanglefoot Trail. There are a lot of starting points, with plenty of parking and a plaza in New Albany. The Tanglefoot is 43 miles long, so you probably won’t hike or bike it all at once. Check their website for more places to get on and off the trail.

Live Oaks Bike Trail and the National Seashore Park

In South Mississippi, you can visit the Live Oaks Bike Trail in Ocean Springs. Live Oaks IS a bike trail, but those who want to go on foot can visit the nearby Davis Bayou National Seashore Park, which has plenty of walking and hiking trails.

When the weather in Mississippi hits that perfect balance, getting outside is a treat. You don’t even have to go anywhere special, just a walk down your street or road will do. 30 minutes a day is all it takes.

If you need some more advice, the Mississippi State Department of Health also have some ideas on how to stay active to stay healthy.

3 Ways to Build a Healthier Mississippi

3 Ways to Build a Healthier Mississippi

UProot was developed to spark new ideas and opportunities to improve our state’s health. Read on for ways to connect to the great work happening to improve our state’s health. 

Read the State Health Improvement Plan

Developed using feedback from more than 19,000 residents, public health professionals, and community partners across the state, the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) is a great place to start when looking to build a healthier state. 

It breaks down the cause and prevalence of Mississippi’s most pressing health issues, and contains actionable next steps employers, residents, educators, health-care professionals, faith-based organizations, and public health professionals can use to put the plan into action. 

Here’s an example for community residents: 

  1. Notice what chronic diseases (obesity, for example) are impacting your town or community. 
  2. Check the SHIP for tips on how to improve this health issue. In this example, you could help lower obesity rates by improving food access (volunteering at a food pantry, donating to organizations that provide food to those who are low-income or on disability, or starting a neighborhood food drive or community garden). 
  3. Spread the word. Get more people involved in improving this issue to help grow more solutions for a healthier Mississippi. 

Keep in mind that simply sharing, supporting, and lifting up healthy behaviors for friends and family members can have a big positive impact on our state’s health as well! Check out our resource directory to learn more about chronic diseases in your area and connect to free health management classes to boost wellness.

Join an UProot Work Group

For organizations looking to make a difference, joining one of UProot’s work groups is a great first step. Work groups meet on a monthly basis to track progress and develop new strategies for improving our state’s health. Priorities are based on the SHIP and are represented in the following focus areas: 

Social Determinants of Health contribute to health disparities across the state, and can have a major impact on the prevalence of chronic diseases. By joining in this work, your organization can take action to improve the environmental conditions of Mississippians, including people of color, tribal members, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged. Click here for a breakdown of this priority.

There’s also work being done specifically to lower obesity rates that your organization can take part in. Since obesity is a root cause for most chronic illnesses, it is a very important issue to address at both local and state levels. Improving obesity rates alone could save Mississippi over $13 billion annually in unnecessary health care costs. 

With three specific focus areas, we’re able to develop a more holistic approach to building better behaviors and lowering obesity rates. Click here to learn more about this priority and its focus areas.

See a workgroup that seems like the perfect fit for your organization? Click here to join! 

Share the Wins

Whether you’re a community organization or community leader, resident or public health advocate, always share the wins! Send us the health projects or events happening in your area, and we’ll amplify them to help spread the word and inspire others to grow a healthier Mississippi. 
If you already have a story ready to share with us, click here to send it to us!