BCBS of Mississippi Foundation continues support of Alcorn’s fitness initiatives

BCBS of Mississippi Foundation continues support of Alcorn’s fitness initiatives

Alcorn has always been a valuable resource for southwestern Mississippi and with the continuation of a grant of nearly $200,000 from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation it will continue to make a healthier impact for surrounding communities.

“The foundation is committed to funding opportunities for organizations that are serious about providing fitness access and education while impacting the status of Mississippi’s health and wellness future,” said Sheila Grogan, executive director of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. “Alcorn is changing lives and educating its students, faculty, staff, and members of the community about the benefits of fitness and nutrition.”

The foundation began working successfully with Alcorn in 2012 to implement a campus wide fitness center to engage the Alcorn family in making fitness a part of its daily routine. Under the leadership of Dr. Garry Lewis, assistant professor in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department, whose dedication to health and fitness secured both grants, surrounding communities and area schools have also reaped the rewards of wellness and nutrition activities throughout the year.

“We will utilize these resources to continue the momentum on campus and throughout the areas in which we serve to ensure individuals are aware of the benefits of healthy eating habits and exercise,” said Lewis.

For Media Relations Office Manager Tanya Carr, she said at the mention of the word “exercise” she would grimace. Now she looks forward to competing with other co-workers and students in the fitness center, during cycling, Zumba or cross training classes.

“The trainers make it fun to exercise,” explains Carr. “We have serious fun while reaching our personalized goals. I have seen results and appreciate the supportive environment established by Dr. Lewis.”

While Alfred Galtney, the director of Research and Sponsored Programs at Alcorn, also contributes his fitness regiment and weight loss to the variety of programs offered by the grant, he encourages others to get active today.

“There is no cost for these spectacular programs,” shared Galtney who credits BCBS and Alcorn programs for not only his weight loss, but also his health and confidence. “Since participating in the program, I have maintained a healthy weight, regulated my cholesterol and managed my high blood pressure without regular maintenance medicines.”

These programs will continue with another youth fitness camp planned for this summer as well, said Lewis.

Alcorn President Alfred Rankins Jr. met with Grogan and Lewis to discuss the expansion of program services while recognizing that physical inactivity is a major factor in Mississippi’s obesity epidemic.

“Alcorn values our partnership with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation,” said President Rankins. “Influencing fitness behavior and healthy nutritional choices is a win-win for Alcorn and our neighbors.”

For more information on the University’s health and wellness program, contact Lewis at 601.877.6503.

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Pictured L to R: Lewis, Grogan and President Rankins.