Alabama State University Expands Black Belt Health Services

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With $750,000 in grants, Alabama State University is expanding this month outside of Montgomery and into rural Alabama communities with its health services.

The university announced this week that its health services department will provide “better health services” to underserved residents. in the black belt by October 19. Efforts will focus on COVID testing, vaccinations and other care, according to ASU Health Services Center Director Dr. Joyce Loyd-Davis.

“We will now be able to help make a difference in rural areas where residents struggle to get these specialist health services,” Loyd-Davis said in a statement.

The number of COVID cases in Alabama has fallen to daily averages of 536 cases and five deaths, which is roughly in line with where the state was in June 2020. Slightly more than half of the Alabama is fully vaccinated against COVID, and some of the counties with the highest vaccination rates are in the black belt.

So far, ASU has scheduled four testing and vaccination clinics for this month: one on October 17 in Perry County, another on October 19 in Elmore County, and two on campus in ASU on October 11 and 18.

ASU follows a series of other Alabama institutions that have launched initiatives to improve rural health care in the state.

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In October 2021, UA announced a $4 million project to build health care support systems among communities that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected, and in the same year, the The University of Alabama at Birmingham announced a $5 million cooperative agreement to improve rural health systems.

The director of the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, Nisa Miranda, previously told the announcer that the recent rural health funding increase was “long overdue.”

Grants to ASU for its initiative come from the Alabama Pharmacy Association Alabama and the Alabama Department of Public Health. The university received $500,000 of the funds in 2021 and the rest earlier this year. Now that money is being used.

The recent grant included an allowance for a new vehicle to get employees and equipment to the rural communities they plan to serve. Loyd-Davis called it their “COVID support vehicle.”

“It is important that ASU Health Services remain at the forefront as a community and campus leader so they can do all they can to help control and significantly reduce the COVID pandemic,” she said. “That’s the way of ASU.”

Hadley Hitson covers the rural South for the Montgomery Advertiser and Report for America. She can be reached at[email protected]nnett.com. To support his work,subscribe to advertiserWheredonate to Report for America.

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