Alexis H. Hamilton and Marven Cantave joined the MSU Extension Service as agents with the Aim for Change program. Aim for Change is a five-year, $5.5 million grant program targeting the reduction of obesity and related diseases through policy, systems and environmental interventions.
Hamilton and Cantave will serve eight Delta counties: Sharkey, Issaquena, Holmes, Humphreys, Washington, Leflore, Sunflower and Quitman. They will work with coalitions to identify community-driven ideas and projects that lead to healthier diets and more physical activity. They will work with schools, community groups and civic and faith-based organizations in each county to improve access to healthy foods and increase walkable routes to everyday destinations.
Hamilton, who is from Rolling Fork, attended the Indianola School District and graduated from Gentry High School. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health and physical education with a minor in science from Delta State University.
He has taught choir, science and physical education for grades 6 through 12. He also coached football and basketball. Hamilton earned a Doctorate of Theology from G.M.O.R. Theological Institute in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He has pastored Mt. Olive church in Indianola for 16 years and Beulah Grove church in Itta Bena for 14 years.
Cantave, a native of Massachusetts, is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He holds a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and a master’s degree in public health nutrition. He is an active advocate of mentoring young people in underserved communities.
Aim for Change, which stands for “Advancing, Inspiring, Motivating for Community Health Through Extension,” uses an all-inclusive approach.
The grant focuses on community and policy changes by involving state and local level entities and leaders to improve access to healthy foods, walkable neighborhoods, and safe outdoor parks and recreation areas.
The grant was awarded to Extension through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Other MSU units involved in the project are the Carl Small Town Center, College of Education and Social Science Research Center. Other partners are the Mississippi Public Health Institute, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Mississippi State Department of Health, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, and Alcorn State University.