March 1, 2016A University of Alabama and Pickens County, Ala., partnership working to provide health resources for the rural county and “real world” training for UA students is accepting proposals for health projects and applications for fellowships. The University of Alabama/Pickens County Health Care Teaching County Partnership, of which the College of Community Health Sciences is a leading partner, recently received $600,000 from the Alabama Legislature to initiate the partnership. Once fully underway, the partnership will enable UA students in medicine, nursing, social work, nutrition, psychology, health education, health care management and elder law to gain practice experience from internships and other learning opportunities in Pickens County, and at the same time provide sustainable health resources for the county. Currently, the partnership is seeking project proposals from UA faculty and/or Pickens County entities for health-related projects to be conducted in the county. Award amounts vary but will not exceed $25,000. Funds will be available May 1, and projects must start by the summer. The partnership also is seeking recent UA graduates for one-year paid fellowships that provide an opportunity to serve in a health-related capacity in Pickens County. Fellows will spend time in community engagement and leadership development activities, which include seminars on health and public policy, as well as social determinants of health. Pickens County is a Medically Underserved Area and a Primary Care, Mental Health and Dental Health Professional Shortage Area. The county ranks 41st in health outcomes among Alabama’s 67 counties. Other statistics show that 36 percent of adult residents are considered obese, one-third of the population lives below the poverty line and there are only nine primary care physicians per 10,000 residents.