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Heart 2 Heart seeks health improvement

ISSUES AN INVITATION: Jamye Martin, CEO of Manna Ministries, says she want to make a difference for Pearl River County and Mississippi and invites the public to take part in the non-profit agency’s Heart 2 Heart initiative to improve cardiovascular health in the area.  Photo by Will Sullivan

ISSUES AN INVITATION: Jamye Martin, CEO of Manna Ministries, says she want to make a difference for Pearl River County and Mississippi and invites the public to take part in the non-profit agency’s Heart 2 Heart initiative to improve cardiovascular health in the area.
Photo by Will Sullivan

Jameye Martin was tired of the perception some people outside of Mississippi have about the state because of a very poor showing in so many health statistics.

“I think I was tired of my state being first in things that are bad for you,” Martin said. “I want the perception of this state to change.”

Martin is CEO of Manna Ministries and has been working through that non-profit organization for years to help residents of Pearl River County, and surrounding counties, with issues ranging from hunger to poor health.

Her non-profit agency provides food to help families through hard times when food stamps run out, provides some basic health screening that people without insurance can’t afford and after-school tutoring for children in grades 1 through 3 who are having trouble, especially with reading. Now she and the agency have taken on a new challenge.

Manna Ministries received a $153,000 grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation in ceremonies on Monday to battle cardiovascular disease through a program called Heart 2 Heart. With the program she and Manna Ministries are working to change some of the statistics that seem to have the state trapped in a health care dungeon.

Much of the strategy to reduce the state’s position as first among the 50 states in the rate of deaths from cardiovascular disease is based on education that addresses the risk factors lifestyles has on the disease.

The classes will address such things as smoking, nutrition and exercise, all of which require lifestyle modifications, Martin said.

“We will have guest speakers on several subjects such as why it’s important to quit smoking,” she said

Among the speakers will be Dr. Anthony Morales, a cardiologist from the Louisiana Heart Hospital, she said. Dr. Morales comes to Picayune regularly and practices out of the offices of Dr. Walter Gipson on the east side U.S. Highway 11 north of the bridge over Hobolochitto Creek, she said.

Other speakers will be Dr. Adrienne Spence, a family nurse practitioner, and Dr. Lori Blackmer, a local optometrist.

Dr. Morales will speak on the effects of smoking and other unhealthy lifestyle choices on the heart. Dr. Spence will discuss the effects on the kidneys and other organs and Dr. Blackmer will discuss the ill effects on the eyes.

Manna Ministries also will provide health screenings to those participating in Heart 2 Heart, she said.

A brochure at Manna Ministries’ offices in the Picayune Industrial Park says the program:

— Is a team-based approach to help make changes in lifestyles.

— Uses patient involvement as the core value of the program.

— Will have one-on-one health education classes and group interaction by lifestyle coaches.

— Will have incentives for participants.

— Will provide medical home and continuing care for cardiovascular management.

— Provide a supportive environment for long-term lifestyle changes.

— Provide groups with evidence-based risk factors, nutritional counseling and lifestyle behavioral changes.

Martin said her goal is for 300 to 350 participants, but will “take anyone who wants to participate even if it’s more than that.

“If people really want to get healthy and help themselves, I’ll take them.”

She emphasized that the program is free. “We invite anyone in the community that’s interested to contact us about our Heart to Heart initiative.

“Patients enroll for a year. We will be having community screenings in the future. We’ll be partnering with Highland Community (Hospital) for that,” Martin said.

Martin said if people in other counties want to start the program, “it’s exportable. I’ll help them get started.

“I want to give everybody the tools they need to be (healthy) and make better choices.”

Manna Ministries can be contacted at 601-799-2121, heart@mannaministryh.net or www.mannaminstry.net.