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Coahoma County Higher Education Center Pushes Education and Opportunity with Innovative Programs

Posted on: August 15, 2011

Coahoma County Higher Education Center (CCHEC)

A partnership between Delta State University and Coahoma Community College

Coahoma County Higher Education Center Pushes Education and Opportunity with Innovative Programs

CLARKSDALE, MS – The Coahoma County Higher Education Center (CCHEC) held its summer celebration and open house last week highlighting their health education program called 1-2-3 For a Healthier Me!  The pilot program started in early June after the CCHEC was notified by the Delta Health Alliance (DHA) that they had been awarded $19,400 to fund the program. The goal of the innovative program is to assist local participants with diabetes management by encouraging them to incorporate healthy food choices and physical activity into their lives.  Jen Waller, Director of the CCHEC, says that this is the first program to be funded and to take off at the Center since she came on board in November, but she hopes there will be many more like it.

“Our goal is to expand educational opportunities for the people in Coahoma County by offering classes and events that will encourage personal development and promote a better quality of life for ALL people in the Mississippi Delta,” said Waller, “and this initial funding from the Delta Health Alliance gets the ball rolling. With the grant money, we have been able to develop a great program that has the ability to grow, evolve and serve so many people in the Delta region. It’s truly a blessing.”

The 1-2-3 For a Healthier Me! program is a health education program sponsored by the DHA and the CCHEC, with the support of Delta State University (DSU) and Coahoma Community College (CCC). The goal is to recruit and retain 15 people to participate in the program for 12 weeks.  All participants must have diabetes or be at-risk for diabetes and must have a doctor’s referral. The participants have been asked to attend two meetings per week for the 12 weeks and have also been given a fitness membership to Snap Fitness to use during the 12 week program.  On Mondays, the participants come to the campus for a food demonstration class around the noon hour in the Viking Kitchen. This is led by the project coordinator, Maria Fyfe, a local chef and the project’s registered dietitian, Dr. Seng Pang. On Thursday evenings, the participants come back to the campus for an exercise and reflection class that is led by the project coordinator or the project director and a certified exercise instructor. Most of the reflection classes have included a gentle yoga class led by Conner Burnham of Delta Yoga or a low-impact aerobics class led by Lesa Carr of Snap Fitness.

For more information about the CCHEC, contact Jen Waller at 662-645-3555 or at jwaller@deltastate.edu

The Coahoma County Higher Education Center (CCHEC) was designed to enhance the outreach capabilities of Delta State University (DSU) and Coahoma Community College (CCC). The partnership between the two institutions encourages regional growth and development by expanding educational opportunities for the people of Coahoma County, and the surrounding counties, with plans to offer junior and senior level coursework as well as personal enrichment classes. The central location of the CCHEC will give the people of Coahoma County an advantage by giving them an opportunity to increase their education with a minimum of travel.  Both institutions want to offer programmatic coursework at the CCHEC that will target high needs within the region. These may include, but are not limited to education and teacher preparation, healthcare, business development and hospitality management.  Personal enrichment programs will include, but are not limited to the culinary arts, performing arts, and mental and physical enrichment opportunities.

In November 2010, Jen Waller, was named new director of the CCHEC. Waller returned to the Delta after a 10-year stint in Washington, D.C., where she served in a variety of public service roles including the U.S. Department of Education (DoED) under Secretary Arne Duncan, the Southern Governors’ Association, and in the Congressional offices of U.S. Representative Marion Berry of Arkansas, United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, and U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois.

The Delta Health Alliance (DHA) is a partnership founded by Delta State University, Mississippi State University, Mississippi Valley State University, University of Mississippi Medical Center, and Delta Council. The mission of Delta Health Alliance is to advocate, develop and implement collaborative projects that:  increase access and availability of healthcare in the Delta; conduct and apply research of health problems and issues to reduce ill health among Delta residents; or offer health education programs that encourage and enable Delta residents to adopt good health practices.

The Delta health Alliance is gratefully acknowledged for support of this project through HRSA Grant Number D04H12672. The Delta Health Alliance is a non-profit organization based in Stoneville, MS. That advocates, develops and implements collaborative programs to improve the health of citizens in the Delta through the support of partnerships that increase access and availability of healthcare, conduct and apply health research, or offer health education programs that foster healthy lifestyles for Deltans. For more information about Delta Health Alliance, visit www.deltahealthalliance.org.