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The Healthy Campus/Community Initative at Coahoma County Higher Education Center, a Delta State satellite campus, recently announced its first Health Champions.

Delta State University proudly celebrates expansion of Healthy Campus/Community Initiative in the Clarksdale area at the Coahoma County Higher Education Center, a Delta State satellite campus.

HCCI seeks to provide a sustainable model for a healthy community worthy of replication by other communities through a partnership with Blue Cross & Blue Shield Foundation of Mississippi.

The Health Champion program, which originated on Delta State’s main campus, recently began in Coahoma County to highlight individuals and groups striving to live a healthy lifestyle.

“These are people that are easy for individuals to relate to,” said Lesley Johnson, HCCI Clarksdale director. “The program is designed to motivate our citizens to live a healthy lifestyle by exercising and eating healthy.”

Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of Delta State’s College of Education and Human Sciences, oversaw the development of the initial HCCI platform, and is thrilled to see these initiatives developing in Coahoma County.

“It is gratifying to be able to extend the Health Champion program to the Clarksdale/Coahoma community through the continued support of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield Foundation,” said Griffin. “We know that communities working together can make a significant difference in the lives of its members and impact health in a positive manner.”

The first champion, announced June 17, was Ron Earl of Clarksdale, a case manager supervisor in mental health. Earl jogs at least four miles a day, practices light full body fitness and participates in various exercise programs.

“Find something that works for you — running, exercising, eating healthy foods, whatever — and stick with it,” said Earl. “Also, I encourage including prayer and faith every day in your life.”

A group of workers at Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in Clarksdale was recognized July 7 as the second Health Champion. Those acknowledged included: Andreana Dean Sibley, Jean Williams, Naomi Heagwood, Roxie Hogan, Stacie Ford, Jana Mason, Christine Franklin and Clifton Wade Grant.

These champions take part in a number of physical activities, including walking, biking, running, playing sports and working out.

Community members across Coahoma County who are leaders, promoters and facilitators of physical activity or healthy lifestyles will be considered for Health Champion recognition. To find out more about the Delta Heath Champion Challenge, contact Lesley Johnson at or 662-645-7721.