Emerson keynote speaker for Healthy Start Forum

Thursday, March 13, 2003

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-8th District) will deliver the keynote address at the Business & Not-for-Profit Forum on Friday, March 21, at the Drury Lodge in Cape Girardeau from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The forum is sponsored by the Regional Consortia of the Missouri Bootheel Healthy Start Project and is geared for leaders in business, government, not-for-profits, social services, and the faith and medical communities.

"We are excited to be the first project in the nation to present this type of forum, " said Cynthia Dean, project director. "Topics to be addressed in the forum will be how to develop a business model for marketing goods and services, Internet marketing, putting the 'fun' in fundraising, effective use of the media to grow your organization, and much more."

Dean said Emerson is known as a tireless advocate for improving access to rural health care, and has been a strong supporter of the Healthy Start Project. She champions prescription drug and health care legislation to reduce inequalities in rural America. Her work has been widely recognized among health care professionals and her constituents.

State Sen. Maida Coleman, (D-5th District), a native of Sikeston, will address the group as a member of the consortia on the role of the community in addressing this issue. Coleman currently serves as the assistant minority leader in the Missouri State Senate, and serves on several key committees including Agriculture, Veterans Affairs and Gubernatorial Appointments.

Other speakers include Mario Drummonds, executive director/CEO of the Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership Inc., who has diversified the project's funding base, and in seven years increased the operating budget by 500 percent; Jan Denton, Esq., a consultant with the National Healthy Start Association, and Dennis Trask, a widely recognized authority on resource development and fundraising.

"We hope the forum will increase the visibility of MBHS, initiate new partnerships, and emphasize the vital role the community plays in sustaining and developing a community based program," said Dean, adding that the Regional Consortium Sustainability Committee played a key role in coordinating the event. "Their expertise and leadership are essential to increase sustainability for the future of the program.

"Representative Emerson has supported MBHS over the years, and I believe that she serves as a role model for other political leaders because she demonstrates commitment and understands the strengths and roles a family plays in the future of our rural communities."

Missouri Bootheel Healthy Start's mission is to reduce infant mortality and to improve the health and well being of families, and is one of 48 projects in the nation funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The mission is accomplished through community mobilization, case management and education/training. There is no charge for the conference, but registration is limited to the first 150 registrants.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Registration includes all workshop materials, continental breakfast and lunch. To register or for more information, call 888-317-4949.

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