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AHA Helped Supply Healthiest Drink During Jackson Water Crisis

Water Distribution

When Jackson was without drinking water, the American Heart Association, Magnolia Medical Foundation and Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church distributed over 30,000 bottles to the community.

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Hands-Only CPR

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Chocolate nut cookie mug recipe

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In Your Community

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, only 8% of medical students and 5% of physicians are Black and African American. In an effort to address this disparity, the American Heart Association, the leading public health nonprofit organization dedicated to building a world of longer, healthier lives for all, has announced that four local students have been selected to participate in its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholars program.

Local awardees are:

Ané Scott-Senior English major at Tougaloo College

Ané Scott

Ané is a native of Jackson, MS. Member of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society Spring and Jackson Heart Study Scholar. Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Tougaloo Womanhood of Womanhood International, Inc., and Tougaloo College (NAACP) National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Ané has a personal mission of using linguistics and public health to bridge AAVE speakers to their providers in an effort to address African American medical outcomes.

Mentor: Clifton Addison, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Senior Research Scientist, Jackson Heart Study Graduate Training and Education Center, Jackson State University School of Public Health.

Madison Patterson - Sophomore biology major at Tougaloo College

Madison Patterson

Madison is a native of Leland, MS. Alpha Lambda Delta scholar and Lindy Callahan MHSAA Scholarship recipient. Volunteer for the Washington County Clean Up, Read Across America, Mississippi Votes, and Lucy Webb field day. Madison is excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with accomplished faculty and fellow scholars from diverse backgrounds will enrich her learning experience and foster a supportive community dedicated to making a difference.

Mentor: Marinelle Payton, MD, PhD, MS, MPH, Chair and Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Director, Center of Excellence in Minority Health and Disparities, Director, Jackson Heart Study Graduate Training and Education Center, Jackson State University School of Public Health.

Aspen Treadwell - Junior biology major at Jackson State University

Aspen Treadwell

Aspen is a native of Independence, MO. President’s list scholar, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. State Scholarship recipient, Bennye Simmons Henderson Biology Book Award winner, Juanita Stubbs-Bluntson Endowed Book Award winner, Sigma Epsilon Chapter of Beta member and W.E.B Du Bois Honors College. Member of Blue Streak, Blue Ambassadors, TRIO STEM SSS, Thee Aristocrats, Pre-Health Society, Biological Society, National Society of Leadership and Success, and Student Government Association. Jackson State Jackson Free Clinic Ambassador President, Tri Beta Biological Honor Society Secretary, and W.E.B Du Bois Honors College Treasurer. Aspen is eager to collaborate with her mentor and gain new knowledge around the research process.

Mentor: Junie Paula Warrington, PhD, FAHA, FANA, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology and Associate Director, Program in Neuroscience, Translational Research Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Raegyn Phillips - Senior biology major at Jackson State University


Raegyn is a native of Carthage, MS. President's list scholar and Jackson State University Tiger Tuition Scholar. Secretary for Jackson State University Transfer Ambassadors and Public Relations Coordinator for Jackson State University Biological Society. Raegyn is looking forward to collaborating with like-minded peers, working with her mentor, and building a lifelong network of professionals who share a common goal., Jackson State University.

Mentor: Lorena Amaral, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology/Toxicology, University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Mississippi Healthy Food and Families Program Becomes Law

The American Heart Association, as part of its effort to Grow the Good for Mississippi farmers, families, and local economies, applauds the Mississippi Legislature for passing policy to create and fund the Mississippi Healthy Food and Families Program within the Department of Agriculture. Starting July 1, the program will help families stretch their food dollars by reimbursing participating SNAP locations, such as farmers markets, to offer “double up” dollars for fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We’re embracing the old saying, 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away,' while adopting the mantra, 'food is medicine,'” said Erin Williamson Smith, Therizo Foundation’s CEO, president and founder, and member of the Grow the Good initiative. SNAP is linked with reduced health care costs. On average, low-income adults taking part in SNAP incur nearly 25% less in medical care costs. The difference is even greater for those with hypertension and coronary heart disease.

“I grew up paying reduced lunch fees in elementary school. Nearly everyone paid a reduced rate or ate free,” said Rev. K. Jason Coker, PhD, coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Mississippi and member of the Grow the Good initiative. “Food insecurity was part of my lived experience. I want better for all our kids in Mississippi.” 

Without SNAP incentives, thousands of families would not be able to afford fruits and vegetables for their children. In Mississippi, one in five people face hunger and one in four children face hunger. One in seven Mississippians receives benefits from SNAP or 455,000 Mississippi residents. In Mississippi, almost half (47.7%) of households receiving SNAP benefits have children. 

In addition to improving nutrition security, the Mississippi Healthy Food and Families Program will spur economic growth. Every $5 spent on SNAP incentives puts $9 back into local economies. Through higher sales of produce, farmers, grocery store owners, farmer’s markets vendors, and small retail stores. The Mississippi Healthy Food and Families Program will boost local economies and put food on the table for many hardworking families. Farmers markets in underserved areas are more likely to thrive when they accept SNAP incentives and vouchers for food at the market. Over 3,000 small businesses in Mississippi depend on SNAP and SNAP incentives to survive.

The Metro Jackson Team recently launched a new initiative focused on improving maternal health in Mississippi.  Unfortunately, Mississippi has the highest maternal death rates in the US and black women are more than four times more likely to die from pregnancy related issues than white women and the local AHA team knew that we needed to find donors willing to help us support local clinics with resources for pregnant and new moms.  With support of a local corporate sponsorship, the AHA provided maternal wellness boxes, blood pressure cuffs with patient diaries and healthy food boxes to all the mothers who attended the event at a local health clinic. Those who spoke during the press conference highlighted the importance of accessible comprehensive care – mental, emotional, and physical – for women and children of color who are disproportionately affected by the lack of access to quality medical care in Mississippi. Since the kick off, we have had two additional new sponsors commit to support this effort and we are confident that we will continue to have others come on board to support this important issue in Mississippi.

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John Howie
First Commercial Bank

James Warnock, M.D.
Mississippi Baptist Medical Center

Leadership Development Chair
Barney Daly
Trustmark Bank

Chair Elect
Mark Saxon
Retired, First Commercial Bank

President Elect
Dr. Teri Dyess
St. Dominic’s


Barney Daly
Community Bank

Lance Davis


Brian Fenelon
The Fenelon Group


Michael Hall

Peder Johnson
Retired, Forvis

Loleta Kellum
Molina Healthcare

Tina Lakey 
Retired, Centrepoint Energy

Mike McMullan, M.D.

Debbie Minor, M.D.

Jennifer Sinclair

Dr. Julia Thompson
Merit Health Heart

Frances Ware
First Commercial Bank

Dorothy Shaw
Ingalls Shipbuilding

Dr. Antoine Rizk
Coast Cardiovascular Associates 

Leadership Development Chair
Eric Brown

Trustmark Bank


Roy Anderson, III

Johnny Atherton

Tiffany Murdock
Singing River Health System

Angel Greer
Coastal Family Health Center 

Kezi Jones, CHES, MPH
Gulf Coast Healthy Communities Collaborative

Emory Mayfield
Hancock Whitney

David McCormick
Cumbest, Cumbest, Hunter & McCormick

Mike Middleton
Mississippi Power

Butch Oustalet
Butch Oustalet Autoplex

Jerry St. Pe
Retired, Community Volunteer

Wendy Williams
Coastal Family Health Center

Helen  Werby 
Biloxi Housing Authority

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Heart and Stroke News

Find science-based stories about heart and brain health and inspiring survivor profiles from American Heart Association News.