For them, this is personal.
It becomes personal when kids in your church go hungry, when the children you teach miss school to see their murdered friends' funerals, when a cousin dies in childbirth overseas, when your friends in college don't earn enough money to buy food.
Esosa “Sosa” Adah, Tameka Carmichael, Morgan Davis, Nneamaka Ezekwe, Richelle Jefferson, Tylere Nunnery, Michelle Wheeler: For most, or all, of them, the consequences of poverty have occupied their pews, stalked their classrooms, destroyed their loved ones, and, in Jefferson's case, invaded her home, where her mother skipped meals to make ends meet.
On any given Friday night during the high school football season, Braxton James can be found dashing from one fallen Lanier High player to another.
“The first game this season, I was back and forth between about 10 kids who were cramping,” said James, a University of Mississippi Medical Center certified athletic trainer. “I'll stretch them and massage their cramps. I'll give them a bottle of water with a small salt packet.
“I preach hydration and diet. I tell them to lay off the fried food.”
Student enrollment at the University of Mississippi Medical Center remains nearly level this fall from last year- but it's a very full house, nevertheless
“We are near or at capacity in all of our programs, with the exception of some of our online offerings,” said Dr. Ralph Didlake, the Medical Center's associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. “We do expect continued growth.”
For the five schools on the UMMC campus, official numbers show combined enrollment is 2,990, down from 3,011 in fall 2015, a difference of 21 students. Areas enjoying growth include the School of Medicine, from 563 students to 577; the Medical Center's residency and fellowship programs, from 626 to 640; and the School of Dentistry, from 143 to 148.
“UMMC has expanded GME (graduate medical education) training in a number of ways to meet the health care needs of the citizens of Mississippi,” said Dr. Rick Barr, the Suzan B. Thames professor and chair of pediatrics and associate dean of graduate medical education. “It is right in line with our core mission of training more physicians for the state.”
A number of interesting events is scheduled for the upcoming week at the Medical Center.