A rose to all of those who helped spread the word during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each Friday in October, The Dispatch told the stories of local people whose lives have been touched by breast cancer. But efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer is something that many people did in a variety of ways.
One of The Dispatch stories focused on Starkville surgeon Dr. Ken Parvin, who spent much of his 35 years diagnosing and performing surgery on breast cancer patients. Parvin noted that one of the biggest improvements in breast cancer treatment has nothing to do with medicine. “When I started, women didn’t talk about breast cancer,” Parvin said. “It was a very private thing. Now, that’s changed. With social media, women are telling their own stories and encouraging one another. That’s a big thing, I think.” We agree. Breast Cancer Awareness Month may end Wednesday, but we encourage everyone to keep spreading the word. Early diagnosis is the biggest determining factor in survival. The more we remind each other of this established fact, the fewer deaths we will see from this awful disease.
A rose to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle and East Mississippi Community College for their collaboration in a new surgical technology program, which will begin with 15 students in January. The classes, along with a paramedic program, will be held at a Baptist building on Willowbrook Road near the hospital. Students will have the opportunity to work with doctors, paramedics and surgical technologists from Baptist before graduating with Associate’s degrees in either program. It’s a great recruiting tool for the hospital and an excellent opportunity for students to get real-life training in their specialty. After being inactive for a year after losing its instructor, EMCC’s paramedic program returns. For the first time classes will be held at a Baptist facility. The relationship between students and the hospital is certain to reap dividends for both the hospital and the students.
A rose to Mississippi University for Women for their efforts in landing a $1.5 million federal grant that will be used for a major upgrade in the university’s advising software, which will help MUW advisors and the students they work with more effectively tailor to their education when students change majors or have other issues.
MUW officials say the new software will help student retention. The six-year graduation rate for MUW students who enrolled at The W is 44.3 percent compared to the national average of 59 percent. While there are any number of reasons a student may leave school before earning a degree, the confusion created by a change of majors is one factor that can be addressed. The new DegreeWorks software will help students more easily adjust class schedules after changing majors or other interruptions in the academic schedule. We applaud The W for pursuing this grant to provide one more tool in the effort to make sure its students leave school with a degree.
A rose to Alison Buehler and The Homestead Education Center in Starkville as it prepares for the beginning of its annual Helping Hands fundraising drive. This year, the goal is to raise $20,000 to publish and distribute a series of books co-authored by Buehler and her friend, Lenora Witt and illustrated by Chris Miller of Nashville, Tennessee.
The three-book “Big Monty” series is for students in grades 2-4 and is geared toward black students, who have historically lagged behind their white peers in reading. Part of the effort to close that gap is creating books with black characters speaking in authentic voices. Witt and Miller, both of whom are black, give these books that needed authenticity. We believe that children gravitate toward the familiar and the presence of characters black children can relate to will help motivate these children to be become more enthusiastic readers and, as a result, better readers. To contribute to the fundraiser, which begins Nov. 6, go to www.thehomesteadcenter.org
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.