Meridian Star


February 26, 2012

Meridian ready to be 21st century health care community


    This past week Governor Bryant, Senator Wicker, and Congressman Harper were in the Queen City. While the governor was here, I had the opportunity to visit with him about his plan for Mississippi Health Care Industry Zones, also known as Medical Zones.

    While we cannot be certain of the exact economic benefits these Medical Zones will provide, we can be certain that Meridian is ready for the opportunities they will bring.

    We are ninety miles east from a medical school in Jackson. We are one hundred forty miles west from a medical school in Birmingham. We are within ninety miles of several hospitals north and south of Meridian. We are perfectly located to use our medical resources to become a 21st century health care community.

    We are working with the governor’s office and local leadership to ensure that Meridian is on the forefront of health care economic development.

    Meridian took a big step in that direction in 2009 when the Office of the Mayor began working with Mississippi State University and the Riley Foundation for a nursing school in downtown Meridian to be located in the Kress Building.

    The direction to head for economic development in Meridian was as clear then and it is now—health care.

    In retail, we sell what we have on the shelves. Meridian has health care on the shelves.

    One of the biggest benefits of enhancing our nursing programs in Meridian is that the graduates can find work regionally. They don’t have to move away to build a career and support a family. We have a market for the graduates right here.

    Enhancing our medical education opportunities and our health care services is a means to grow Meridian through a whole new way. We grow economically, we grow educationally, and we grow our community.

    We applaud Governor Bryant for his leadership in health care economic development.

    We thank the Riley Foundation and Mississippi State University for their partnership.

    We in Meridian are ready to become a 21st century health care community.

Cheri Barry

Mayor, City of Meridian

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