Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Local artists display work at Crosby Arboretum

Msu Ag Communications News

Jul 3 (5 days ago)

For Immediate Release
July 3, 2014
Writer: Susan Collins-Smith
Contact: Pat Drackett, 601-799-2311


PICAYUNE -- Visitors to the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum can view the work of area artists in the arboretum’s new art gallery.

Located in the recently remodeled visitor center and gift shop, the gallery opened June 21. It displays artwork that celebrates the natural world, and much of  the art was made on or inspired by the arboretum grounds in Picayune.

“We became increasingly aware that there are many local artists visiting the arboretum who are taking exceptional photographs of the grounds or are using the grounds to inspire their work,” said Pat Drackett, Crosby Arboretum director.

Photographs of nature mandalas made by Mary Murchison of Pearl River County are on display now through Aug. 31. Murchison gathers natural materials, such as flower petals and pinecones, to make the circular patterns that she then photographs.

“We discovered through Facebook that Mary was making some of her mandalas on our grounds,” Drackett said. “Her creations were getting rave reviews on social media, and that’s how we got the idea to display art that was made here or reflected our themes and goals.”

Robin Veerkamp and Janet Schlauderaff will exhibit their work together beginning Sept. 1. Veerkamp, of Picayune, specializes in color pencil and pen and ink drawings of landscapes, plants and animals. Schlauderaff crafts gourds into baskets, bowls, spoons and decorative display items.

Brian Anderson of Purvis will display his nature photographs from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28.

Exhibits are displayed in conjunction with the seasons of the year, and each is open for three months.

Admission to view the art exhibits and explore the arboretum’s 104-acre site is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and military members, and $2 for children under age 12. However, each art exhibit opening event is free to the public.

The arboretum is an educational facility dedicated to preserving, protecting and displaying plants native to the Pearl River Drainage Basin ecosystem. Cultural, scientific and recreational programs are held throughout the year.

For more information about the arboretum and the programs offered, visit http//www.crosbyarboretum.msstate.edu or follow the arboretum on Facebook.

MSU Medical Program Builds Future Doctors

Msu Ag Communications News

Jul 3 (5 days ago)

Released: July 3, 2014
Contact: Dr. Bonnie Carew, 662-325-1321

By Bonnie Coblentz
MSU Ag Communications

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Some of Mississippi’s future medical professionals demonstrated their dedication by taking college-level classes the summer before their senior year in high school.

The children of Destiny’s Day Care in Louisville, Mississippi, enjoy new classroom equipment in their temporary location on May 16, 2014, after the original site was destroyed by a tornado.

The Rural Medical Scholars program at Mississippi State University is designed to address the state’s shortage of medical professionals. From left are Extension Service rural health program leader Bonnie Carew and three of the high school seniors who participated this year: Jason Carter of Horn Lake, Elizabeth Tedford of Clarksdale and Sabrina Micha of Starkville. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)

This year, 23 academically gifted high school students participated in the five-week Rural Medical Scholars program at Mississippi State University. Since the program began in 1998, 317 students have participated, experiencing college life and shadowing doctors and other medical professionals for an on-the-job view of their professional lives.

Bonnie Carew, MSU Extension Service rural health program leader, coordinates the unique and challenging program.

“As a whole, Mississippi lacks an adequate number of medical professionals to serve the needs of the population,” Carew said. “This program was started to encourage the best and brightest of our high school students to consider the field of medicine for a career. We designed this program to give them valuable information to help as they make decisions for their future.”

The program’s primary purpose is to create more physicians for Mississippi. It houses students in residence halls, enrolls them in two college classes and makes them responsible for time management.

This year’s students took freshman biology and sociology. They were in class four hours every morning and had lab four afternoons a week. On Tuesday afternoons, the students shadowed practicing physicians as they met with patients and performed their duties.

“I felt like it would really help me decide if I wanted to be a doctor,” Jason Carter of Horn Lake said of why he chose to participate in the program.

Sabrina Micha of Starkville was considering both engineering and pediatrics as possible careers when she signed up for the program.

“I figured I’d get a firsthand experience of what it would be like in a health-care job,” Micha said. “After getting to shadow a pediatrician, I decided I want to do pediatrics.”

In addition to the classes and the on-the-job experience, scholars also spent a day in Jackson at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. They got to talk to the dean of admissions and speak with current residents at the school.

“The dean told us how to get into medical school,” said Elizabeth Tedford of Clarksdale. “I probably would have failed otherwise if I had tried to apply on my own.”

The Rural Medical Scholars program is operated by the MSU Extension Service. Funding for the program comes primarily from the Extension Service with assistance from the State Office of Rural Health at the Mississippi Department of Health.

On July 7, Rural Medical Scholars will graduate its 15th class of students. Overall, 70 percent of previous classes pursued health-related careers. Since the program began, 34 scholars went to medical school and 24 are practicing physicians. Fourteen of these physicians chose to stay and practice in Mississippi.

Dr. Douglas “Deke” Barron is a former Rural Medical Scholar who is now in family medicine residency at the North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. The Hernando native credits the program with giving him an early idea of what college life was like and allowing him to see that he really liked medicine as a career.

“I would say Rural Medical Scholars’ exposure to the medical setting via the shadowing experiences and the trip to UMMC were what cemented my decision that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine,” Barron said. “It also showed me that in Mississippi in particular, a career in medicine would be of great use to both myself and the state.”

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nutrition Label Changes Can Help Consumers

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Released: July 1, 2014
Contact: Dr. Brent Fountain662-325-0849; Natasha Haynes601-825-1462

Nutrition label changes can help consumers

MSUcares header

By Susan Collins-Smith
MSU Ag Communications

JACKSON – Proposed changes to the nutrition facts label should make it easier for consumers to make decisions about the food they eat.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is updating the label for the first time since it appeared on packaged foods in 1993. The only major change made to the label in its 20-year history was the required addition of trans fats in 2006.

“The goal is to simplify the label for the consumer,” said Brent Fountain, an associate Extension professor in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion at Mississippi State University. “They want to emphasize the information people need the most in relation to current health issues.”

The iconic label design will not change, but some elements of the label will be revamped to reflect the findings of new health and nutrition research.

The most notable proposed changes will modernize serving sizes, amend essential nutrients, include a line for added sugars, and refresh the label’s format. Serving sizes will be increased or decreased for some foods to reflect what people eat in a single sitting. By law, a serving size must reflect what people actually eat, not what they should eat, according to the FDA’s website.

“A lot of foods that are packaged as multiple-serving foods are consumed as a single serving, such as a 20-ounce soft drink,” Fountain said. “With the proposed changes, a 20-ounce soft drink, which currently is labeled as two and half servings, would be labeled as one serving. The number of calories and other nutritional values would increase as a result.”

The FDA recommends that vitamin D and potassium be added to the declared essential nutrients on packaging because some populations do not get enough of them. Vitamin D and potassium are essential for bone and heart health, respectively. Calcium and iron values are also label requirements. Vitamins A and C can be removed from or voluntarily reported on the label, the FDA website said.

Companies also may be required to distinguish between natural sugars and added sugars by stating the amount of added sugar.

“The addition of this information will be quite helpful for those who need to pay attention to carbohydrates,” Fountain said. “Typically, if you look at the fiber and sugar content, anything that has three or more grams of fiber and is low in sugar is a good choice. But some items with naturally occurring sugars, like dried fruits, can be good choices. Identifying naturally occurring sugars from added sugars will afford consumers the opportunity to make the best choices for themselves and their families.”

The label is intended as a guide to help people compare foods and make good choices. The link between nutrition, obesity and chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, prompted many of the changes.

The revised label would make the calorie count font larger and directly associated with the serving size.

“We all have a misconception of serving sizes,” said Natasha Haynes, Extension family and consumer sciences agent in Rankin County. “Overeating is linked to many of the major health issues facing our society.”

Most consumers are concerned primarily with the calorie count and serving size of their foods. But those with particular health issues or concerns will need to look further than the number of calories, Haynes said.

“Health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, require people to monitor their intake of carbohydrates, fats and sodium,” she said. “The changes being proposed can help people who are in the grocery aisle trying to make a decision,” she said.

The FDA is requesting other changes be made to the label, including making percentage daily values easier to understand, revising the footnote and modifying daily values for sodium intake.

For more about the FDA’s proposed changes or to comment on the changes, go to the FDA’s website at http://1.usa.gov/RtSnlN. The comment period closes Aug. 1. After the approved changes are made, new labels will be required within two years.

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