April 29, 2016Grants have been funded, fellows have been named and a coordinator has been selected for The University of Alabama and Pickens County Health Care Teaching County Partnership. The partnership of UA and Pickens County and its medical center seeks to provide sustainable health care for the rural county and “real world” training for UA students. Students in medicine, nursing, social work, psychology, health education and other UA disciplines will gain practice from internships and other learning opportunities in Pickens County, and the rural county will gain additional health resources. Approximately $600,000 was obtained from the Alabama Legislature in 2015 for the project, and the funds will be used in three ways. Grant Projects The first is to fund projects that address an identifiable health issue/priority within the Pickens County community. The projects must involve UA faculty, students and a Pickens County community organization or similar entity. 1. Disseminating the Power PATH mental health preventive intervention to Pickens County Community Action Head Start Program Principal Investigator: Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer, associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at CCHS Co PIs: Dr. Ansley Gilpin, assistant professor of psychology at UA, and Dr. Jason DeCaro, associate professor of anthropology Collaboration: Pickens County Community Action Head Start Program 2. TelePlay: Connecting physicians, families and autism professionals to increase early autism identification in Pickens County PI: Dr. Lea Yerby, assistant professor of Community and Rural Medicine at CCHS Co PIs: Dr. Angela Barber, assistant professor of Communicative Disorders and the clinical research director of Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic at UA Collaboration: Dr. Julia Boothe, family medicine physician in Pickens County 3. Improving Pickens County Residents’ Knowledge of Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes PI: Dr. Michele Montgomery, assistant professor at the Capstone College of Nursing Co PI: Dr. Paige Johnson, assistant professor at the Capstone College of Nursing Collaboration: Pickens County Community Action Committee & CDC, Inc., Pickens County Board of Education, Pickens County Head Start, and the Diabetes Coalition 4. Development of a Rural Family Medicine Residency in Pickens County PI: Dr. Richard Friend, director of the College’s Family Medicine Residency Collaboration: Jim Marshall, CEO of Pickens County Medical Center; Deborah Tucker, CEO of Whatley Health Services 5. Pickens County Medical-Legal Partnership for the Elderly PI: Gaines B. Brake, staff attorney with the Elder Law Clinic at The University of Alabama School of Law Collaboration: Jim Marshall, CEO of Pickens County Medical Center 6. Improving Access to Cardiac Rehabilitation Services in Pickens County PI: Dr. Avani Shah, assistant professor of Social Work at UA Co PI: Dr. Jonathan Wingo, associate professor of Kinesiology at UA Collaboration: Sharon Crawford Wester, RRT, Cardiopulmonary Rehab Pickens County Medical Center 7. Alabama Literacy Project PI: Carol A. Donovan, professor of special education and multiple abilities at UA Collaboration: Jamie Chapman, Superintendent of Pickens County Schools 8. Bringing Healthy Food options and ease of preparation home to our senior adults PI: Jennifer Anderson, director of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UA Co PI: Suzanne Henson, dietitian and assistant professor in Family Medicine at CCHS Collaboration: Anne Jones, Pickens County Family Center and Mayor Joe Lancaster, City of Carrollton, Alabama Fellowships The funding from the Alabama Legislature will also cover one-year fellowships for these recent UA graduates. Four fellows have been selected. The fellowships will provide an opportunity for them to serve in health-related capacities in Pickens County to both provide a year of service while expanding their experience and education. Project Coordinator Wilamena Hopkins has been named the coordinator of the UA and Pickens County Health Care Teaching County Project. Hopkins, who has experience as an event and training coordinator for Whatley Health Services, will be located primarily in Pickens County. She will direct and facilitate overall development, oversight implementation and administration for the project and serve as a liaison into the community and promote the partnerships and its projects to the people of Pickens County and the University community. Pickens County ranks 41st in health outcomes against Alabama’s 67 counties. The county has nine primary care physicians per 10,000 residents, and 36 percent of adults are considered obese. One-third of the population lives below the poverty line.