Profile: Ron Cossman
Ron Cossman's interest in death and morbidity rates isn't an unhealthy fixation. In fact, his research relates to helping people stay healthy while enjoying life.
The associate research professor at Mississippi State's Social Science Research Center has devoted much of his professional life to researching mortality rates and what makes places "unhealthy" and "healthy." From social networks to chronic illnesses, Cossman researches what causes areas to be considered healthy or unhealthy places.
Finding factors that lead to healthier communities can lead to improved quality of life. One factor is where people spend their time.
"People will be healthier if they spend more time outdoors," Cossman said. "We need "to create an environment that invites people to be outdoors, which includes creating infrastructure and a safe environment.
But Cossman isn't just focused on research. Active in the area nonprofit organization, Starkville in Motion, Cossman's efforts have led to successful projects such as Starkville receiving a $281,000 federal grant for sidewalks and other infrastructure for Safe Routes to Schools, a nationwide initiative to encourage more students to walk to school.
As changes on a national scale take time to make a difference, Cossman said patience is also required when working on local and county levels. But it pays off.
"Over time, people in this community will have a very different environment," he said.
Next week … Brenda Cavenaugh !