County leaders honored at Auburn game on jumbotron

Published 8:30 am Saturday, October 28, 2023

Local county leaders received a big pat on the back during the Auburn University football game recently when they were invited onto the field and put on the jumbotron last weekend.

The goal was to celebrate the success of the Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center, which is a partnership between the county commissioners, Auburn University Rural Health Project and the city of LaFayette. 

“It felt humbling because we’ve been really working hard to make this health center and the partnerships work, and by the numbers that we’re seeing, it’s obviously working,” said LaFayette Fire Chief Jim Doody. 

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Doody along with Chambers County Extension Coordinator Rachel Snoddy, Auburn University Outreach Director Hollie Cost, Auburn Professor of Nursing and Outreach Coordinator Linda Gibson-Young and County Manager Regina Chambers came out to the field while a video about the center played on the jumbotron. 

“We don’t do it for that but it just goes to show how important this project is, and how the extensive growth that we’re showing,” Doody said. 

The goal was to address the healthcare disparity in rural areas such as Chambers County. The county has few healthcare providers and many citizens don’t have access to reliable transportation for their health needs.

Since it opened earlier this year, the center has offered free demonstrations and consultations for the OnMed telehealth station. Auburn University faculty and students have also been providing free health screenings throughout the summer. 

At a recent city council meeting, Doody shared that the center has had 184 events and approximately 70% of patients received prescriptions from the OnMed station in the second quarter. 

In the third quarter, the number of patients who received prescriptions increased to over 75%. 

Over 30 individuals have received screenings from speech and language pathology faculty and students.

“We’re not done yet, you know,” Doody said. “This is just the beginning.”

Recently, the Rural Health Initiative received another grant to create four more health centers throughout Alabama over the next few years. According to Doody, the project will use the Chambers County Health and Wellness Center as a blueprint and headquarters for the rest.