University of Alabama to use initiative to bridge gap in health disparities in minority communities

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 7:27 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2021 at 7:28 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The University of Alabama is heading up an initiative to better prepare some communities to make it through the pandemic or set up organizations that will allow some who suffered through coronavirus to have better outcomes.

The University of Alabama will use a $4 million investment from the Equitable Neighborhood Initiative to address rural health inequities. “The primary goal is to equip corporate neighbors, residents and partners, community partners, with the necessary tools and resources they need to address COVID-19 issues as well as be prepared for future challenges,” according to Arturo Menefee, Director of Leadership Development with the UA Center for Economic Development.

University faculty, staff, students and other partners will work in 15 communities around Alabama to better equip people with information to address COVID-19 problems. Menefee said the program will not build clinics or administer medication. The effort hopes to establish a support system and the capacity to deal with challenges in the future that involve health disparities that became more evident as minorities and people in rural Alabama needed additional help getting through the coronavirus pandemic. “We’ll be able to be able to hire a local coordinator and that local coordinator with the knowledge of that community and those key stakeholders. And they can help us in terms of identifying workshops or capacity building within that particular community.”

This is a two-year project. Menefee hopes they can establish a program that’s able to sustain itself for years to come.

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