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Vicksburg at the center of $3M federal grant to combat COVID-19

Vicksburg at the center of $3M federal grant to combat COVID-19
Vicksburg at the center of $3M federal grant to combat COVID-19(WLBT)
Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 2:28 PM CDT
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VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - Vicksburg is hoping to fight the relentless Coronavirus with a pretty penny from the government.

July 1 kicked off a new $3 million project called CHAMPIONS. It’s the acronym for COVID-19 Health literacy, Accessibility, Management, Prevention, Intervention, Outcomes, and New Skills.

The funds are from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

Jackson State University, the city of Vicksburg, and Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center are the recipients of the two-year initiative.

The goal is to help people in Vicksburg understand and process basic health information to improve their lives.

“By improving health literacy distribution, we’re essentially improving access to healthcare for groups of people who statistically need it most. I’m looking forward to the work ahead,” said George Flaggs Jr, mayor of Vicksburg.

Vicksburg meets the Health Resources and Services Administration’s definition of rural and has a population of 21,653. According to the U.S. Census, 67 percent of people are Black/African American, and 3 percent are Hispanic/Latino. Also, 30.7 percent of Vicksburg residents meet the Census Bureau’s definition of poverty, and 15 percent of residents do not have health insurance, grant recipients say.

Jackson State will be responsible for the project evaluation, and many of the project’s activities will be implemented at Jackson-Hinds CHC.

The trio will partner to roll out a health literacy intervention program specifically targeting Vicksburg’s diverse community.

“The COVID-19 Health Literacy Project will provide the opportunity for the citizens of Vicksburg to become more knowledgeable about COVID-19, its effects and prevention measures, as well as improving health literacy in the communities we serve,” Dr. Jasmin Chapman, CEO of Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health said.

The group expects to encounter challenges with health literacy, healthcare experiences, and engaging with public health messages promoting COVID-19 prevention, but they seem to up for it.

“This initiative is a significant step toward the elimination of health disparities caused by longstanding systemic and structural inequities,” JSU President Thomas K. Hudson said.

The projects will also focus on other populations that are considered vulnerable by using local data to identify racial and ethnic minority populations at risk.

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