Picayune Carver Culture Center and SHEA Collaborate for First Health Fair to Address Health Disparities

Published 11:27 pm Monday, March 25, 2024

The Picayune Carver Culture Center, in partnership with SHEA (Sharing Health Education and Awareness), will host its inaugural Health Fair on Friday, April 5, 2024, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Through a targeted, community-centered approach, the event aims to tackle pressing health concerns, particularly within African American communities in the Picayune and Pearl River County areas. While the fair is tailored to the African American community, we want to emphasize that this event is for everyone. All individuals, regardless of race, creed, or color, are welcome and encouraged to attend and participate in this important initiative.

Recent reports underscore the urgency of such initiatives. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Southern region of the United States, where Picayune and Pearl River County are located, faces significant health challenges. With 37% of the total U.S. population residing in the South, the region has a higher percentage of people of color, particularly African Americans, comprising 42% of its population. The South also exhibits higher rates of poverty and poorer health outcomes compared to other regions, including concerning levels of obesity, diabetes, and infant mortality, alongside disparities in health insurance coverage.

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Further highlighting the health challenges in Mississippi, the United Health Foundation’s 2018 rankings placed the state among the lowest for health measures, including outcomes, behaviors, clinical care, and community and environmental factors. Notably, the Delta/Hills Public Health District in rural northwest Mississippi faces significant health disparities, with several counties ranking in the lowest quartile for health outcomes and factors, including access to healthcare.

A recent community health assessment conducted by the Master of Public Health program at the University of Southern Mississippi identified healthcare as a critical need in the Picayune area. The evaluation revealed prevalent health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and teen pregnancy.

In response to these findings, the Picayune Carver Culture Center and SHEA have united to address the healthcare access and education barriers identified in the studies. By emphasizing the importance of early detection and treatment, the organizations aim to positively impact individual patients’ and their families’ quality of life. Culturally sensitive messages will be prioritized to encourage healthcare-seeking behaviors within the community.

The Health Fair represents a collaborative effort to combat health disparities and improve overall well-being in Picayune and Pearl River County. By providing education, resources, and support, organizers hope to empower individuals to take proactive steps toward better health outcomes.