JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Mississippi didn't land on the bottom of health rankings overnight. And getting off the bottom will take time. But several groups are joining forces to generate change.
"We've just got rotten health statistics," said State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier. "The Trust for America's Health just came out yesterday with the rankings and we're 50th, again."
"UProot: Building a Healthier Mississippi from the Ground UP" is the latest solution plan to pull Mississippi out of that last place spot.
"Often times because we've been used to doing the same things we've been doing in our communities," noted Glenda Crump, Mississippi Public Health Institute Chief Operations Officer. "The same programs, the same things, it's hard for people to try something different but it can be done."
Here's how this initiative is different. It brings more than 90 organizations together to determine the top priorities. More than a year of looking at data and brainstorming brought them to four priorities. The State Health Department isn't the lead on this but it's excited about how it could create change.
"We really need to work with everybody else and make sure we're all going the same direction and we have the same priorities and we work on the same things together," explained Currier. "Because we really can make a difference if we do all those things and we each do our own part."
Everyone from faith organizations to law enforcement will be called upon to create a culture of health.
"That's going to help," added Beneta Burt, executive director of Mississippi Road-map to Health Equity. "It's going to help to alleviate some of the issues around poverty, some of the issues around poor health."