News Release

Thursday, October 19, 2006

NIH Opens Health Information Center at Jackson Medical Mall

The National Institutes of Health opened a new health information center today at the Jackson Medical Mall in Jackson, Mississippi, affirming NIH’s commitment to providing accurate, up-to-date health information to Mississippi residents.

The new center was developed after NIH representatives met with Jackson residents in early 2006 to discuss how people in the area viewed participating in NIH research studies. The center features health information materials from many of NIH’s 27 Institutes and Centers and includes information on vision health, cancer, heart disease, dental care, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome, and many other health topics.

“The new NIH Health Information Center offers clear, understandable medical and health publications to individuals and community groups in Jackson,” said Duane Alexander, M.D., Director of the NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “We seek to provide Jackson area residents and their physicians with the best medical information possible on which to base their own health care decisions.”

For example, the new center provides information on ways to reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. Rural Mississippi has higher rates of stroke, heart disease, and SIDS than do many other parts of the United States. Information on these and other health topics is available on the NIH Web site,

Materials for the information center have been provided by the NIH Office of the Director, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Eye Institute, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Cancer Institute. Other NIH institutes and centers are also expected to provide materials.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Jackson Medical Mall in this important effort,” said Yvonne Maddox, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the NICHD, who spoke at the event. “This is a unique contribution to the health of Mississippi’s residents.”

The event was part of NIH’s Public Trust Initiative, which seeks to enable the public to understand and to have full confidence in the research that NIH conducts and supports across the country and throughout the world. Dr. Maddox co-chairs the initiative, along with Patricia Grady, Ph.D, Director of NIH’s National Institute of Nursing Research.

“It’s important to communicate the results of NIH research to the public,” said John Burklow Associate Director for Communications, National Institutes of Health, who spoke at the conference. “The knowledge we gain from this research can help people lead longer, healthier lives.”

The new center’s opening was marked by the screening of a film on African American midwives. Narrated by Phylicia Rashad, the film “Bringin’ in Da Spirit,” celebrates African American women who committed themselves to the health and well-being of rural families, even in the face of misconceptions about the practice of midwifery and adamant opposition from medical practitioners.

“These African American midwives supported all aspects of the birth experience and helped to ensure that babies born in the rural South had a healthy start in life,” Dr. Maddox said.

The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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