A group of representatives from the Washington, D.C.-based Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, along with other health professionals, took part in a symposium in Leflore County and toured the Delta last week.
And one of their stops landed them in Indianola.
The group took part in a two-day conference on cancer-related issues that began Wednesday at the Leflore County Civic Center.
The main focus of the consortium was to see how living conditions in the Delta vary and how it affects Delta residents who need treatment for cancer.
Joe V. Selby, MD, MPH, executive director, described PCORI as a research-funding agency that is interested in practical research that improves the way that healthcare is delivered and the way that people’s health is affected.
He said, “We funded a project through the Mississippi Network for Cancer Control and Prevention and the Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation and we’re down here to see, to learn about how healthcare is delivered, how cancer is prevented, how people are educated and brought along to participate in their health and in research and how it’s done in Greenwood and in the Delta.”
Freddie White-Johnson, president, founder of the Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation, invited Selby and the other guests to the Delta; their tour also included locations in Greenwood and Sidon.
Grayson Norquist, MD,MSPH, Emory University School of Medicine and PCORI board chairman said, “The key issue is the fact that we’re trying to do this differently, where we are really kind of learning from the patient and from the people who are using the healthcare and I think the lesson that we’ve learned from Freddie and her group and the people at USM is that there is a new way basically of engaging communities to get involved, so she served as a model for this.”
The gathering was hosted by MNCCP, representatives from the state's Department of Health, Mississippi Valley State University, the Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation and the University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute.
Jennifer Downey, Special Assistant to the Vice President for Research, USM, said even though USM is located in the southern part of the state they are very much involved in community-engaged health research here in the Delta.
“USM supports that research and looks to funders such as PCORI to help us get a better understanding of how to improve health here in theDelta,” she said.
The partnership between PCORI and the cancer foundation is in its third year.
“I think that the center and foundation are really a model of how patients and communities can come together to improve their own health with appropriate resources including research, sometimes you need to do research to figure out the better of two ways to build something, so we’re very impressed,” Selby said.
The purpose of the stopover was to tour the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center and Selby and the others also wanted to see the historic Club Ebony.