Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor

wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor

Original post from Southern Miss Now. Courtesy of David Tisdale.

From a young girl doodling on her notepad to shaping steel as an art student at The University of Southern Mississippi, Kelsey Wishik has engaged in creative action as long as she can remember.

That creative action earned Wishik, a multimedia artist from Ocean Springs, Miss. a prominent place in the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) fifth installment of its exhibition series, titled “Heavy Metal – Women to Watch 2018” after being chosen by a national jury to be the state’s representative for the event.  

According to a news release from the NMWA, “Heavy Metal – Women to Watch 2018,” set for June 28 – Sept. 16, will feature “contemporary artists working in metal to investigate the physical properties and expressive possibilities of metalwork through a wide variety of objects, including sculpture, jewelry, and conceptual forms.” The exhibit also “engages with the fluidity between ‘fine’ art, design, and craft categories, whose traditional definitions are rooted in gender discrimination.”


“Women to Watch” is presented every three years in a collaboration between the museum and its national and international outreach committees.

“I feel honored and humbled to be a part of this incredible showing,” said Wishik, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture from USM in 2014. “It has added a lot of heat to a fire of inspiration already burning [in me] to keep creating, learning, and mastering my craft and skills, and reminds me that we are all ambassadors of culture, in a way.”

wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor
wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor

The exhibition provides Wishik the opportunity to show several of her pieces, alongside a published statement of her work. She will attend the opening reception to connect with other contributors and facilitators, and speak to an international forum the next day about her work and artistic vision. 

“It’s a unique opportunity to share not only my academic studies and technical skills, but my insights, inspirations, passions, and hopes for future projects and potential collaborations,” Wishik said. 

Reflecting on her still young career as an artist, Wishik looks back at her childhood doodling and the stories and songs she wrote that for her gave life a narrative quality, as the genesis for her success.

“Even as a kid, just walking around, I saw so many things speaking through life, through other people, and through nature,” Wishik said. “Some of these fascinations became content for early work, but it was when I discovered abstract art and surrealism around the age of 13 that I became deeply enamored with creating art, and experimenting with what I was capable of through poetry, art, and music.

“Creating art is how I process and revere my experience. Sometimes I apply it for the sake of sheer curiosity, because studying something brings you closer to understanding it. Other times, creation comes with the sense of purging, that I am letting something go, or even inviting something in.”

Wishik loves all the materials she works with in her art for different reasons, but is most enamored with the steel medium. “Something that seems so rigid, hard, and cold can actually yield to being shaped, changed, and warmed quite easily,” she said. “Working with steel is my humble study of this concept on a small scale. I enjoy being able to apply considerable force to something, and shape it with my intention as well. I get that out of the steel fabrication process.”

wishik-fw Ocean Springs Artist, USM Alumna Chosen for National Honor


Wishik points to American sculptor and printmaker Lee Bontecou as a role model. “Her work is fantastic and otherworldly,” she said. “It shows great contemplative power and evidence of many years of immersion into her fascinations and self-education of those forms.”

After attending Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Wishik transferred to Southern Miss, where she received several scholarships that included the Fred A. Waits Scholarship; the Trustmark Bank Arts Scholarship; the Thelma Johnson Arts Scholarship; and the William Clark Art Scholarship.

Wishik said USM’s “incredible facilities, which offer a breadth of possibilities in many mediums” and proximity to home influenced her decision to choose the university.

“I’m proud of the work I did at USM in steel, because I really took the opportunity to immerse in the studio environment, and take advantage of the resources of both studio and creative community,” she said. “I was able to explore creative work processes in clay, metals, wood, fabric, foam, plaster, and many other materials. It helped me grow my skills quite quickly.”

Jennifer Torres, professor of art at USM and a mentor for Wilshik, said her former student is “exemplary, full of talent and intelligence.”

“What makes her exceptional is the way she attacks life as a whole, and explores the world without regard for boundaries or limitations that others might impose,” Torres said. “She is such a shining light and great example of what we wish for all our students to be, as well as a great ambassador for our program and the University as a whole.”

For Wishik, art isn’t contained on a canvas or in a studio – it’s everywhere. “The world is art. The world is in constant flux — a constant act of transformation and reflection of forces at work,” she said. “The word ‘art’ aside, we are creating at every moment. We can’t help it. We interact with our environment and impress upon it through our thoughts, actions, and speech.

“I think when the art process becomes true magic is when we invite it in intentionally. The process of creating can cultivate concentration, develop our emotions and empathy, and encourage abstract thought.”

Wishik’s advice to current and aspiring artists is to avoid artificial restrictions that suffocate creativity. “Focus your mind and intention where there is vastness, space to roam and imagine – do not waste your mind’s capacity on that which is decided for you without exploration or work, including unexplored limitations, doubts, or self-defeating mindsets,” she said. “These are some key truths I’ve found, and applicable in any setting.”

Learn more about and view Wishik’s work at  www.worksbywish.com. For more information about the National Museum of Women in the Arts, visit https://nmwa.org.
For information about the USM Department of Art and Design, visit https://www.usm.edu/visual-arts. 

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MGCCC Jackson County Campus Fine Arts Gallery opens “Seasons” art exhibit

IMG_2015-300x263-1 MGCCC Jackson County Campus Fine Arts Gallery opens “Seasons” art exhibit

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The MGCCC Jackson County Campus Fine Arts Gallery is proud to announce the opening of the exhibit “Seasons” by Mississippi artist Terry Cherry.  The exhibit opened to the public on January 11 and will run until February 22.  An opening reception will be held on Thursday, February 1 at 12:15PM.

Cherry, a native of Lubbock, Texas, received his education at East Mississippi Community College, Mississippi State University, and Mississippi College.  He is one of the Southeast’s premiere watercolor painters.  An accomplished workshop instructor, demonstrator, lecturer, and juror, Terry currently teaches at East Mississippi Community College.

A signature member and two-time president of the Mississippi Watercolor Society, Cherry has had his work featured in one-man shows, group exhibitions, competitions, and outdoor festivals throughout the country, he has exhibited in such varied venues as Watercolor USA, the Mississippi Watercolor Society Grand National, the Texas Watercolor Society, Terrance Gallery (New York, NY), Arts in the Park (Meridian), the MMA Bi-State, Watercolor Southeast, the Southern Watercolor Society Annual Juried Competition. He received the John Gaddis Award in 1993, Mississippi Museum Purchase Award in 1992, and the Mary Jane Whittington Award 1989 in the Mississippi Watercolor Society’s Grand National. He has also received the Ashland Oil Company Award from the Kentucky Watercolor Society’s “Aqueous” Annual Juried Competition.  His work has been selected for the touring exhibitions of the Texas, Georgia, and Kentucky Watercolor Societies. 

“Art has the ability to inhabit the spirit of all of us. Why else do we desire to make it or possess it?  Art moves us or it’s not art,” Cherry said. “Lately I have tried to embrace the eclecticism that has always gone on in my imagination.  Over the years, I have worked in several different media and approaches to making art, but have usually just shown one or two at most.  I strive for unity in each individual piece, but am not as concerned about how they relate to each other.  It is my hope that because I am the one doing them that there will be unity there. “

The MGCCC Fine Arts Gallery hours are 9 a.m. -3 p.m., Monday-Friday. For more information, contact Marc Poole at 228-497-7684 or marc.poole@mgccc.edu.

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2018 Mardi Gras Balls

king-and-queen- 2018 Mardi Gras Balls

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With Mardi Gras parades follows the royalty of each crewe’s Mardi Gras ball. Here are the Mardi Gras balls happening on the Gulf Coast this year: 

Jan. 19 – 7 p.m.


Gruich Community Center, Biloxi – Must have a view card from Athena member to view ball. Invitation only for floor.

Jan 19th- 8 PM


Jackson County Civic Center, Pascagoula

Invitation only

Jan. 20 – 7 p.m.


Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, Biloxi

Invitation only – thekreweofnereids.com

Jan. 20 – 7 p.m.


Tickets: $50 – (228) 297-1990 or (228) 219-2475

Jan. 20 – 7 p.m.


Biloxi Civic Center

Open to the public – $50 per person

Jan. 20 – 7:30 p.m.


Jackson County Civic Center, Pascagoula

Invitation only

Jan. 26


Biloxi Community Center

Invitation only

Jan. 27 – 8 p.m.


Biloxi Civic Center

Invitation only

Feb. 2 – 7 p.m.


St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School, Long Beach

Open to the public – Tickets: $40


Feb. 2 – 8 p.m.


Gruich Community Center, Biloxi

Feb. 3 – 8 p.m.


Biloxi Civic Center


Tickets sold out

Feb. 3 – 7 p.m.


Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, Biloxi

Invitation only

Feb. 3 – 7 p.m.


Community Center, Bay St. Louis

Open to public

Tickets: $20 per person, $160 table of eight

(228) 671-1039 or (228) 305-0817

Feb. 3 – 6:30 p.m.


Diamondhead Country Club

Invitation only

Feb. 3 – 7 p.m.


IP Resort and Casino, Biloxi

Invitation only

Feb. 9 – 7 p.m.


St. Vincent de Paul School, Long Beach

Tickets: $40

(228) 355-0146

Feb. 9 – 8 p.m.


Gruich Community Center, Biloxi

Invitation only

Feb. 10 – 7 p.m.


Gruich Community Center, Biloxi

Tickets: $20

Tickets sold ahead of time and remaining tickets sold at the door

Feb. 12 – 8 p.m.


Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, Biloxi

(228) 432-8806

Free admission for viewing; to participate is invitation only

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What’s with the Baby in King Cakes?

kingcakebaby What's with the Baby in King Cakes?

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King Cakes are a traditional dessert loved by all during the Mardi Gras season. They come in a variety of flavors from cheese cake to chocolate and is known for its sweet icing and colorful frosting. But what’s the deal with the plastic baby inside the cake? There are many beliefs as to what the baby actually represents, so JaxCoHome wanted to research the history of the baby and king cake; how it’s relevant to Mardi Gras; and what it means if you get a piece with a plastic baby in the middle. 

King Cakes can actually be found as early as the beginning of the year and at the center of celebrations through early spring. Some associate it with Mardi Gras, others with a celebration known as Epiphany. According to Eater, King cake is eaten on January 6 in honor of Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, which historically marks the arrival of the three wise men/kings in Bethlehem who delivered gifts to the baby Jesus. King cake also appears on tables throughout the Carnival season, which runs from Epiphany to Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent).

Many people call King Cakes different names and it comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. Most people are familiar with with the dough-like consistency twisted into a ring, filled with a wide array of flavors and decorated with colored icing and sprinkles. The glaze is the most popular part of the cake, including the three colors found on top: gold, green and purple. Variants can be made from cake batter or bread dough or pastry, but almost all versions are shaped into a circle or oval to mimic the appearance of a king’s crown. 

Every king cake contains a trinket — often a small figurine in the shape of a baby — which plays a crucial part in the celebration of the holiday that inspired this pastry. There are two theories behind the trinket in the cake. Some believe the plastic baby is symbolism of Baby Jesus because of the religious connection to King’s Day. Others, however, believe the popular New Orleans lore, which suggests that an elaborate cake was served with a bean or ring placed inside during the commemoration of the king’s ball in colonial Louisiana. Whoever found the bean or trinket in his or her slice of cake would be crowned the king or queen of the balls leading up to the lavish finale on Mardi Gras. 

Now, instead of using a bean or a ring the plastic baby is mostly used today as an emblem of good luck. Though as history would have it, the lucky individual who scores the piece of king cake with the baby inside is said to gain favor, and they’re also tasked with hosting duties and bringing their own king cake for next year’s revelry.

So, you’re probably craving one now, right? Well, you’re in luck because there are plenty of bakeries in Jackson County who make these delicious, seasonal treats. Our favorite is Crazy B’s Coffee & Confections located in Pascagoula. Owner of the bakery, Susan, says they sell out of their famous king cake bites every year. “It’s like a mini ball of king cake”, she said. “It makes a great party tray to bring to your Mardi Gras party for everyone to share.” 

For all updates and information for Mardi Gras in Jackson County, visit our Mardi Gras section on our site and Facebook page


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WAMA to Host 5th Annual Craft Beer Tasting Event

23154944_785458024983074_6310180869034845302_o WAMA to Host 5th Annual Craft Beer Tasting Event

Community members craving a unique place to enjoy local beer, art and music can attend the Walter Anderson Museum of Art’s annual craft beer tasting event set for 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18. 

Now in its fifth year, WAMA Director of Development Corey Christy said the event has been a great opportunity for the museum.

“People get to come into an environment they might not have considered before and get to check out local beers they may not be aware of,” Christy said.

Christy added that the event was initially developed five years ago to expand the museum’s membership base to a younger crowd and for people to understand that museums are for everyone.

“There are folks out there that view museums as ‘hoity toity’ or something for the upper crust,” Christy said. “That is not what Walter Anderson was about. He created art that was intended to be enjoyed by the community at large, and we feel this event plays into that spirit.”  

The event will feature live music, great locally crafted beer and the art of Walter Anderson. Not only will attendees enjoy local craft beer, they’ll have the opportunity to learn about it from those who make it. Tickets are still available and are $15 each for members and $20 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased online here. Participants must be 21 years of age or older to attend.

Christy said the event is a great marriage of arts of all kinds and that attendees will have a truly unique experience.

“By attending the event, you are supporting one of the premier cultural institutions in the state and region,” Christy said. “You’ll also hear some great music and try new brews from local breweries as well as local home brewers. It can also be a good topic of discussion for your next Tinder date.”

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Singing River Health System Promotes Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness with “Blue Lips” Campaign

24068315_10155554273071998_5669295802210021608_n Singing River Health System Promotes Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness with “Blue Lips” Campaign

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The early signs are subtle:  shortness of breath, fatigue, and in some cases blue lips or fingertips.   All are signs of Pulmonary Hypertension, a rare but serious condition that’s being treated by specialists at Singing River Health System.   Clinicians and staff this week worked to raise awareness of PH by hosting “Blue Lips” events at their facilities, complete with blue lipstick and blue popsicles to mark the occasion with fun photos that bring attention to this condition which many don’t know exists.

Dr. Ijlal Babar heads up the system’s Regional Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic in Ocean Springs, the only one of its kind on the Coast.   He and his team treat hundreds of patients from across the region.   “While there is no cure for Pulmonary Hypertension, there are effective treatments and therapies, and we customize those for each patient,” says Dr. Babar, a board certified pulmonologist.  

Pulmonary Hypertension causes the body’s arteries to become narrowed, limiting blood flow to the right side of the heart, increasing the work load on the heart and decreasing oxygen to the rest of the body.   Both oral and inhaled medications can be administered, along with continuous therapy via infusion pumps.   Most patients also require supplemental oxygen therapy and other treatments to help with daily activity and easier breathing. 

Dr. Babar and his team at the Regional Hypertension Clinic can help assess patients who suspect that they may have the condition.   They can be reached at 228-872-1951.   More information about Pulmonary Hypertension and the clinic is available on the Singing River Health System website at https://www.singingriverhealthsystem.com/services/pulmonary/hypertension-center/.

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American Heart Association Hosts Healthy Food Drive for Eat Healthy Month

ATT-ESM-pic-2017 American Heart Association Hosts Healthy Food Drive for Eat Healthy Month

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The American Heart Association and its partners in the Jackson County community have been working throughout the month of November to inspire local residents to have a happy, healthy holiday while helping others do the same.

November is Eat Smart Month (Wednesday, November 1 was National Eating Healthy Day), and there’s no better time to embrace a healthier diet and lifestyle than the kickoff of the year-end holiday season. While the holidays are a time for food, friends, family, and fun, there’s no reason that one can’t maintain a healthy diet while still enjoying the bounty of the season with just a few simple amendments. For more information on how to keep yourself on a heart-healthy track throughout the holidays, click here (http://bit.ly/2ngvBCo).

While keeping yourself and your family healthy during the holidays is wonderful, you can also help make sure those in need this holiday season have healthy foods as well. The American Heart Association in Jackson County is encouraging healthy food drives for the local food banks by asking individuals and businesses to donate healthy foods to those in need this holiday season. Healthy foods that are needed include those with low sodium, foods that add color to the holiday plate, non-perishable individually wrapped products, and foods bearing the American Heart Association Heart Checkmark logo. Suggestions include: prepackaged whole grain cereals, low-sugar granola bars, instant oatmeal cups, dehydrated fruit, whole-grain crackers, unsalted rice cakes, and low-sodium canned vegetables.

Donations are still being accepted, so if you or your business collected foods throughout the month of November and would like to support the healthy food drive initiative, please contact the American Heart Association for pick-up at 228-236-5830. Donated foods will be picked up by American Heart Association staff on November 30, and items will go to 12 Baskets, a food bank serving the Mississippi Coast, in early December.

The American Heart Association has contacted all 2018 Jackson County Heart Walk sponsors to encourage them to host their own healthy food drives in support of the overarching initiative. One Jackson County business that has taken the healthy food initiative to a different level is AT&T. Employees have collected healthy foods for donation to the VA of Biloxi food drive, helping to meet existing needs in a way that helps other eat a heart-healthy diet throughout the holiday season.

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Tips and Resources for Taking Care of Premature Babies from a Local Pediatrician

drgphoto Tips and Resources for Taking Care of Premature Babies from a Local Pediatrician

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November is National Prematurity Awareness Month, a time for families nationwide/in Jackson County to think about the health of expectant mothers and babies, and about how to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery. 

According to the March of Dimes, Mississippi has the highest rates of premature births in the U.S. at 13.6%. March of Dimes notes Jackson County is at 10.4%, which is still higher than the national average. Having multiple births also increases the chance of prematurity. March of Dimes also mentions that close to 60 percent of all twins and more than 90 percent of triplets are born prematurely (before 37 weeks). 

Dr. Yolanda Gutierrez of Pascagoula’s Pediatric Care Center is one of the leading and most caring pediatricians on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. After completing her rotations through general medicine, Dr. Gutierrez discovered her passion for working with children and thus completed her internship and residency at the University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, Alabama. Over her 25 years in private practice, Dr. Gutierrez has worked with a number of premature babies as her patients. Gutierrez shares some helpful insights on common myths and tips she gives to parents on premature babies and their care.

Myth #1: “Premature babies are the same as average-sized ones- they’re just smaller” 

Many people believe a premature baby can behave the same way an average-sized baby can. They think because they were born early that you just have to be more gentle with them. This is not the case at all. Care for premature babies is much more precise and strict than that of a non-premature infant. 

“Premature babies are born with immature lungs and come out with a number of different problems that have to be addressed not only immediately, but also long term”, says Gutierrez. 

Premature babies are also prone to developing infections because their immune system is not fully developed. 

Myth #2: “Premature babies can be fed like an average child” 

When your baby is first born, the healthcare team may give them fluids and nutrition through an intravenous (IV line) if they are extremely premature or have breathing difficulties. Alternatively, the doctors may decide that they are mature enough to take milk through a small tube that is passed through the nose into the stomach. Breast milk is the best choice for your baby. 

It is important for milk feeds to be introduced in a timely way – not too quickly but not too slowly – and your doctor will have the expertise to decide this. This progression must be very gradual because premature babies – especially those born at 34 weeks or less – are slow to cope with milk that goes into their stomachs and have more problems with absorbing nutrients. “It’s important to advise these parents on correct feeding and determining how much is too much and what exactly is the right amount for their child”, says Dr. Gutierrez. 

Myth #3: “It’s safe for premature babies to be around other people and out in public”

Parents of premature newborns face even more worries about their baby’s health. Due to immature immune systems that haven’t completely developed, preemies have an increased risk of catching viruses that may be nothing more than a nuisance for us, but can be potentially life threatening to them. Some of these risks can be avoided by understanding when it’s safe to head out with your baby or invite visitors over, and when it’s best to stay inside and away from the crowds. 

“They can’t be around other sick kids or adults”, says Gutierrez. “Viral illnesses are a top concern with premature infants and that is one of the main reasons why our clinic has 2 waiting rooms- one for babies and one for general”, she said. “Parents can trust that they don’t have to risk their babies getting sick from other children in the clinic”, said Gutierrez. 

Overall, it’s important for women to take care of their health and nutrition while carrying their child. “Diabetes, high-blood pressure, smoking, drinking and doing drugs are all factors that increase the risk of an early delivery and premature birth”, said Gutierrez. 

The Pediatric Care Center supports local organizations and groups within the community for premature babies. Gutierrez mentions how the clinic often donates to the March of Dimes and participates in fundraising events to help spread awareness and inform the community on premature babies. 

“The care we offer for the parent and child is state of the art in terms of excellent care”, she said. “It’s given with a lot of compassion. All of our staff love these children and have a passion for helping them”, said Gutierrez. The Pediatric Care Center truly believes that it takes a village to raise a child and parents need the combined teamwork of the family and the child’s pediatric clinic. “We want our parents to trust us when it comes to helping raise their children and make them feel like we are also a part of their family”, she said. 

For more information on the Pediatric Care Center, visit their website at pediatriccarectr.net.


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Mayfield Family Shares Story of Miracles for Prematurity Awareness Month

488020_644211508943800_4214605_n Mayfield Family Shares Story of Miracles for Prematurity Awareness Month

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Hanna and Matt Mayfield are familiar faces in Pascagoula, Mississippi. With Matt co-owning ‘Goula’s famous, Tay’s BBQ a lot of people recognize the family name and their deliciously famous menu items. However, they are also known for their survival story of their two little miracles.

November 17 is recognized as World Prematurity Day and serves as the focus of the March of Dimes’ Prematurity Awareness Month observance each year. The Mayfield family relates to this day as they recall the miraculous story of the birth of their premature twin daughters.

In October of 2011, Hanna Mayfield was taken into emergency c-section at USA’s Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, Alabama. Mayfield says there was no explanation as to why she went into labor so early, but prepared to face the reality of giving birth to premature twins. She was only 5 months pregnant at the time, barely mid-way through her 2nd trimester. 

Bowen and Taylor were born at 22 weeks and 5 days and were considered to be ‘micro-premies’- weighing even smaller than a typical premature baby. Bowen weighed 1 pound and Taylor 15.3 ounces. “Their lungs weren’t working like they were supposed to- it was a lot of treatment and things to keep an eye on every hour, every few hours”, says Mayfield. 

But the family decided to remain positive with lots of prayer and trust in the top-rated NICU center at Children’s and Women’s. “Every one of the doctors and nurses at the hospital are angels”, she said. “Being able to do their job with a smile on their face, while helping these parents is incredible”, says Mayfield. In fact, USA’s NICU center is one of the only local hospitals to give babies born before 24 weeks a chance to survive by putting them on a ventilator. “If we lived in any other city, we may have not been accepted into a hospital to keep our babies alive”, she said. The babies remained in the NICU for the next few months, with Taylor having additional complications and surgeries which kept her there for a total of 7 months. 

The challenge of having premature babies doesn’t stop at the hospital. After bringing the girls home, Matt and Hanna were given strict schedules and guidelines to follow to ensure they were being taken care of properly and would remain healthy. Parents of premature babies have to take caution when bringing them home due to their low immune system. “We couldn’t go out in public and they advised against bringing people around our babies”, said Hanna. “They even told us, ‘If you go out to the grocery store and come back, you have to shower and change clothes before you can even hold your baby'”, she said. The family had to be conscious of every move they made to ensure the girls’ health remained in good state. 

After many routine checkups, the girls caught up to their appropriate weight and grew to become wonderfully excelled children. The twins recently celebrated their 6th birthday last month. “They’re healthy, thriving in school, running around and taking dance lessons-perfectly normal little girls”, said Mayfield. “We could have easily had many difficulties with the girls, but we were fortunate they grew up without any problems”, she said. “I think it’s just being aware of germs, being mindful of their low immune systems and sticking to the plan the nurses and doctors give you is the reason for it”, says Hanna. 

According to the March of Dimes, 1 in 10 women will give birth to a premature child. Like the Mayfield family, many women, including those in Jackson County, will face the difficulty of having premature children. “It’s very easy to get down and depressed that you can’t hold your premature baby like an average-sized one”, says Hanna. But she encourages families who are facing this, “Keep your chin up, stay positive, pray and get your prayer warriors around you”, she said. 

For more information on World Prematurity Day or the March of Dimes, visit their website



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Chevron Achieves Gold Recognition for Workplace Health from American Heart Association

gold- Chevron Achieves Gold Recognition for Workplace Health from American Heart Association

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Scientific, evidenced-based instrument rates, recognizes workplace health programs and workforce heart health

(PASCAGOULA, MS) – The 2017 results of the American Heart Association Workplace Health Achievement Index were announced on October 20th. In Jackson County, MS, the Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula was recognized with the Index’s highest rating (Gold) for taking significant steps to build a culture of health in the workplace. The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, created the Index with its CEO Roundtable members, a leadership collaborative of more than 30 CEOs from some of America’s largest companies who are committed to applying evidence-based approaches to improve their employees’ overall health. 

Chevron was recognized by the American Heart Association for excellence in workplace wellness at the first-ever 2017 IMIA/Craft & Technical Solutions Wellness Symposium and took place on Friday, October 27 at 9 a.m. at the Pascagoula Senior Center (1912 Live Oak Ave. Pascagoula, MS 39567). 

The Index uses science-based best practices to evaluate the overall quality and comprehensiveness of their workplace health programs. A unique feature of the Index is that it calculates an average heart health score for employees of participating companies that securely submit aggregate health data.

More than 800 companies completed the Index assessment this year and, of those companies, 67% received either Gold, Silver, or Bronze recognition. Companies receive benchmarking reports, which allow them to identify potential areas of improvement so that they can advance their annual performance and recognition.

“The American Heart Association is building a culture of health and well-being throughout the country, and on behalf of the Association, we congratulate Chevron and thank them for their efforts in cultivating healthier workplaces and communities,” said Ashleigh Gaddy, Jackson County Director for the American Heart Association.

The Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index allows companies to measure the effectiveness of their workplace health programs, as well as the overall heart health of their employees. Unlike other existing organizational scorecards, the Index also scores companies on the heart health of their employees based on Life’s Simple 7® – the Association’s scientifically validated definition of ideal heart health. The key factors contributing to optimal heart health include smoking cessation, maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, managing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and keeping blood sugar at a healthy level.

Scientific research shows that improving these seven factors can lead to significant reductions in heart disease, stroke, cancer, and many other health problems. In addition, people who achieve ideal cardiovascular health by age 50 have a significantly lower risk of heart disease and stroke, and live, on average, approximately 10 years longer than people with two or more risk factors. 

The American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index assessment is grounded in data-driven science, and a quality improvement framework. According to the Nielsen 2016 Employee Health Survey, robust and comprehensive strategies for well-being are associated with positive impacts on employees’ health.

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