The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Southern Miss hosts health literacy panel

Which state is last in the national health rankings? Which state has the highest mortality birth rate? Which state has the highest rate of preventable deaths? And which state needs to become more literate in health? Mississippi is the answer to all aforementioned questions.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), with the support of USM’s College of Arts and Sciences, recently collaborated to combat the ignorance the public faces toward Health Literacy. Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to make health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others around them. 

The two groups joined forces recently to host the Health Literacy Panel at the Thad Cochran Center on Southern Miss’ Hattiesburg campus. The panelists included NLM Senior Scientist Dr. Rob Logan, Mississippi State Health Officer, Dr. Daniel Edney, Mississippi INBRE Program Director and Professor at USM, Dr. Alex Flynt, State Health Specialist Professor at MSU, Dr. David Buys, and Associate Dean of Research College of Nursing and Health Professionals at USM, Dr. Jennifer Lemacks.

Lemacks coordinated the event and led the panel discussion, allowing the esteemed panelists to share their knowledge and research with the audience regarding the health literacy of the public regarding healthcare terminology.

Each guest speaker spoke to the audience and informed them on different aspects of healthcare and how they are combatting the crisis at hand. There were many topics discussed during the panel.And they included, but weren’t limited to, using video and film to educate the public presented, by Buys, poor engagement in prenatal care, delivered by Edney, social determinacy in healthcare, shared by Flynt, and the importance of how instructions are provided by healthcare providers, by Logan. 

One main focus of the discussion was led by Edney. The topic focused on prenatal care. Mississippi is ranked number one in mortality birth rate and this is due to mothers not having access to prenatal health care information. Edney informed the group on the importance of care before the problem and how having the information accessible is the first step to solving healthcare issues. 

When asked about the availability of public resources when their primary care physician is booked up concerning diagnosis and preventive care information, Edney provided a detailed response. 

“There is no way in 15 minutes to communicate effectively with patients,” Edney said. “And there are some places in Mississippi where the internet is not available so we are working on CHW implementation in Mississippi to allow home visits to improve healthcare.”

Edney also believes that care should be given in full, and that due to the fact the internet can be misleading, in-person visits seem to be more successful in Mississippi. 

Logan, on the other hand, provided the audience with an educational and informative online resource. 

“ is a website that was written for the public with high school education,” Logan said. 

He also went on to inform the audience on the simple use of the website and educated the public on how to access health care knowledge. 

The panel was focused on teaching the audience on health literacy and the importance of community engagement.

For information concerning health care, you can visit the website or contact USM’s College of Arts and Sciences at [email protected]. Healthcare paves the path for a long life so get involved and take control of your health. If you believe you are at risk of health problems the Moffitt Health Center is a resource for students at the University of Southern Mississippi and can be contacted at 601-266-5390.

Leave a Comment
Donate to SM2

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Southern Mississipi. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to SM2

Comments (0)

All Southern Miss Student Media Center Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *