HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - City and county leaders in the Pine Belt gathered in Hattiesburg Thursday to learn more about a Mississippi State Dept. of Health community planning process to improve the health of residents in the area.
Dozens of people participated in a community meeting sponsored by "Healthy MS" at the C.E. Roy Community Center.
The goal was to inform them about the results of a community health assessment, which indicated the needs and strengths of public health in Dist. VIII, which includes nine counties in southeast Mississippi.
The results will be used to develop a community health improvement plan.
"If we want to improve our health in Mississippi and in the area, we really have to get to the drivers of poor health, and that's what this is about...trying to find out the health needs of the community, what are the things we can do to help people live healthier lifestyles," said Dr. Thomas Dobbs, epidemiologist/acting Dist. Health Officer for the Mississippi State Dept. of Health.
"It's a very, very big important task, because healthcare costs are rising and we're facing that right now with our employees," said Johnny Magee, mayor of Laurel. "And if we can do things for preventive purposes, then that's what we want to look to try to do," he said.
The community health assessment was based on the results of 2,100 surveys.