Internet access could be the 21st century’s great equalizer, interrupting access barriers that negatively impact health. Mississippi reigns as the poorest state in the nation (CB, 2020), with some of the country’s worst health outcomes (UHF, 2022), particularly among rural populations. The Community Engagement Center (CEC), one of three Jackson Heart Study (JHS) centers, leverages community partnerships and connections to improve public health. In these times of public health crises, connections are relevant - that is, internet connections. Internet, or broadband, access is the far upstream approach needed to improve the social determinants that negatively impact Mississippians’ health. The National Academy of Medicine says it best, “Everyone in this country deserves the opportunity to be healthy and reach their full potential no matter who they are or where they live” (NAM, 2021, para 1). Simply living in the beautiful state of Mississippi should not be an automatic predictor of excess morbidity and early mortality. Mississippi public health advocates must promote increased internet access, to break down long-standing barriers and maximize the health and well-being of all Mississippians.



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