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Mississippi health care providers refocus on obesity and diabetes

About 130 health care providers attended the second VJ Canizaro Health Summit at William Carey...
About 130 health care providers attended the second VJ Canizaro Health Summit at William Carey University to refocus on prevention of obesity and diabetes.(wlox)
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 9:22 PM EST
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HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A big message to health care providers: If Mississippi is to tackle obesity and diabetes, it will take a team to do it.

Friday, practitioners from around the state came to the second VJ Canizaro Health Summit at William Carey University to start writing a new playbook to take on the battle.

COVID-19 has not only been a killer, it’s also been a distraction from other chronic diseases. Now, state health leaders are taking time to reset their priorities.

“I don’t think that it’s a question of people ignoring the importance of these chronic, progressive diseases,” said Dr. Stephen Farrow, Executive Director National Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute at Tradition. “It’s just you had to reestablish your priorities. Now, we’re retuning, which is the purpose of today’s conference, to re-center our focus on other things that are also important.”

Specifically, obesity and diabetes, conditions that can lead to heart disease, cancer, liver disease and kidney failure. And to help refocus, the health summit, sponsored by the National Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute at Tradition, brought in State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs to headline the summit.

“We’ve got to recognize that chronic illness is driving the mortality situation in Mississippi, the disability situation in Mississippi, but there is a way out of this,” he said.

But it’s going to take teamwork – something that Murray Harber does with the Employer-Provider Interface Council.

“The more we can bring the employers, the providers, the plans together to have a rich set of benefits to support the patients, the better off we’re going to be,” he said. “And we’ve got a long way to go in Mississippi and the Southeast because we are the highest rates of obesity around the country.”

Nurse practitioner Yostin McKelroy said the system needs to better support health-care providers.

“We’re expected to do so much in that little bit of time we’re allowed to have with each patient to do, to treat, to listen, to make changes to treatments, to see where we need to go next,” she said. “To actually connect with the patient in a way that is really meaningful.”

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