The Mississippi Public Health Institute has been awarded a $3.4 million grant to improve the health of African-American families on the Gulf Coast. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports.
African-American families, mothers, and babies on the Gulf Coast will benefit from the $3.4 million grant to improve their health. The five year grant was awarded to the nonprofit by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tennille Collins is with the Public Health Institute. She says chronic disease rates are higher for African-Americans in Mississippi compared to the nation. She also says African-Americans on the Gulf Coast have higher chronic disease rates and lower breastfeeding rates.
“When you look at the Coast we have a problem with hypertension, diabetes across the board what you see in the state of Mississippi but it’s exacerbated on those coastal counties,” said Collins. “And then the low breast feeding rates really present a problem in terms of maternal and child health.”
Collins says the higher rates can be a result of African-Americans being less likely to access health care and healthy foods. The nonprofit will be partnering with organizations in the community, such as Coastal Family Health Center, to address needs in Jackson, Hancock, and Harrison Counties.
Angel Greer is with the Coastal Family Health Center. She says a full-time community service coordinator will be housed at the facility to help connect patients with early prenatal care, smoking cessation services, and breast feeding support.
“This person will be trained how to educate our patients and the communities that they’re from to improve those health outcomes,” said Greer. “So there by minimizing those health disparities.”
The grant was one of only 31 awards given through the CDC's Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program.