Mayor asks medical students to help make Tuscaloosa healthier


Mayor Maddox speaks to medical students at Dean’s Hour.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox spoke recently at Dean’s Hour and asked medical students for their help – now and when they become practicing physicians. 

Dean’s Hour is a monthly forum for medical students created by the College of Community Health Sciences last year to raise students’ awareness of community health issues.

“We have a large portion of our population in poverty, without access to health care, mental health care, transportation and technology,” Maddox said. “What role do you see your College playing in these topics? What could we step up and do that we’re not? Are there city programs where you can help?”

Maddox suggested medical students might be able to help the city provide free medical screenings in low-income areas.

“How can you help us be more engaged in primary care?” he asked.

Maddox, who is 41-years-old, recalled that when he was younger, he at one time weighed 290 pounds. He started jogging, and, over the course of five years, lost 75 pounds.

“As we try to become more preventive in our health-care model, what, as a community, might we do to encourage our citizens to have a more active lifestyle? I am interested in your points of view.”

Maddox also talked about the recent hospitalization of his mother and the physicians who cared for her.

“There’s nothing more comforting than when you are with health professionals who are competent and have your best interest at heart. Don’t ever lose touch of that human element,” he said. “Whether you realize it or not, people look at you differently. You hold their attention and your opinion matters.”