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HealthWorks! North Mississippi Purpose Statement

Infectiously contaminating kids of all ages, everywhere, to learn, have fun, and make great life choices… let the epidemic begin!

HealthWorks! North Mississippi, has been infectiously contaminating kids of all ages since 2009. Located in Tupelo, Mississippi, HealthWorks! is the second educational facility of its kind, and the first  national full-scale replication of HealthWorks! in South Bend, Indiana. Developed in partnership between Memorial Health System of Indiana (?), the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi (HCF) and North Mississippi Health Services (NMHS), HealthWorks! North Mississippi’s inception came about as an extension of NMHS’s goal of improving health in the region. Already funding NMMC School Nurses and School Health Educators in 23 schools throughout Northeast Mississippi, HCF officials in 2002 noted the measurable success of the HealthWorks! model used throughout the Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan region.

Collaborating with regional community leaders on the study and evaluation of the HealthWorks! model, the HCF Board of Directors commissioned Mississippi State University’s Social Science Center (SSRC) to conduct a study to determine the need and interest for a children’s health education center to serve North Mississippi and Northwest Alabama.

After the SSRC identified some alarming regional behaviors that put children at risk for serious health problems later in life, stakeholders from businesses, educational agencies, healthcare organizations, government and other partnerships formed a Community-at-Large Steering Committee to guide project planning. Following review of the SSRC study, the HCF’s Board voted unanimously to support the development of HealthWorks! North Mississippi.

Facility construction and program development began in 2008, and the doors opened wide in January 2009. Since then HealthWorks! North Mississippi has served over 125,000 kids, parents, teachers and health professionals from across the northern Mississippi region. Working with stakeholders from around the region, HealthWorks! has developed a health education programming to meet the needs of Mississippi children. Always growing, the summer of 2013 marked the first series of family” fun and fit” events, a program especially designed for home-schoolers and the spring of 2014 will mark our fifth annual couch to 5K preparation program for tweens. In the case of HealthWorks! the reality is much bigger and better than the vision where we began!

HealthWorks! South Bend

HealthWorks! North Mississippi is based on the success of the inaugural HealthWorks! located in South Bend, Indiana. In 1998, the leadership of Memorial Health System and Memorial Health Foundation, inspired by Memorial’s vision of becoming the healthiest community in the nation, began dreaming about a bold, new and innovative way to reach kids.

These visionaries knew that new and different approaches were needed to give kids the passion and courage to lead inspired and healthy lives. While they understood they did not know how to make this happen, they boldly moved forward, learning at the speed of light as they visited dozens of children’s museums and health education facilities and joined forces with many experts from the local community and across the country.

This vision became reality when the first HealthWorks! in the nation opened its doors in February of 2000, a one-of-a-kind place that merged the best of what they had seen across the country . Today, they are the educational arm of Memorial Children’s Hospital and over half a million people have experienced their irresistible health edutainment through field trips, community outreach programs, birthday parties, special events, and general admission visits. And though their facility is important, HealthWorks! is really about people and the way they interact.

Health Care Foundation’s Mission: Securing and distributing funds to support the continued improvement of the health status of the people in this region.

HealthWorks! North Mississippi Purpose Statement: Infectiously contaminating kids of all ages, everywhere, to learn, have fun, and make great life choices… let the epidemic begin!

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