HealthWorks! North Mississippi, has been infectiously contaminating kids of all ages since 2009. Located in Tupelo, Mississippi, HealthWorks! is the second educational facility of its kind, and the first national full-scale replication of HealthWorks! in South Bend, Indiana. Developed in partnership between Memorial Health System of Indiana, the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi (HCF) and North Mississippi Health Services (NMHS), HealthWorks! North Mississippi’s inception came about as an extension of NMHS’s goal of improving health in the region. Already funding NMMC School Nurses and School Health Educators in 23 schools throughout Northeast Mississippi, HCF officials in 2002 noted the measurable success of the HealthWorks! model used throughout the Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan region.
Collaborating with regional community leaders on the study and evaluation of the HealthWorks! model, the HCF Board of Directors commissioned Mississippi State University’s Social Science Research Center (SSRC) to conduct a study to determine the need and interest for a children’s health education center to serve North Mississippi, Northwest Alabama, and Southwest Tennessee.
After the SSRC identified some alarming regional behaviors that put children at risk for serious health problems later in life, stakeholders from businesses, educational agencies, healthcare organizations, government and other partnerships formed a Community-at-Large Steering Committee to guide project planning. Following review of the SSRC study, the HCF’s Board voted unanimously to support the development of HealthWorks! North Mississippi.
Facility construction and program development began in 2008, and the doors opened wide in January 2009. Now, HealthWorks! North Mississippi serves thousands of kids, parents, teachers, and health professionals each year.