Health and Wellness Center Nationally Recognized

Published 10:20 am Saturday, March 23, 2024

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It was an eventful weekend for the crew over at Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center, which received an interdisciplinary award for the work on the Auburn University Rural Health Initiative.

The team won the Interprofessional Group Recognition Award from the National Academies of Practice on Saturday in Florida, according to Dr. Linda Gibson-Young, Auburn University professor of nursing and outreach coordinator. 

The Interprofessional Group Recognition Award is awarded to a group that has made “enduring contributions to interprofessional practice and education,” according to the NAP. This year, Auburn University Rural Health Initiative was one of the recipients. 

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LaFayette Fire Chief James Doody, Chambers County Extension Coordinator Rachel Snoddy, Auburn University Outreach Director Dr. Hollie Host and Gibson-Young were all in attendance to accept the award.

According to Gibson-Young, the award recognized the entire Rural Health Initiative team across all disciplines. Students and faculty from the school of nursing, pharmacy and other health-related disciplines have been involved in the project.

In 2020, AU outreach had a goal to help address the health disparity and needs of citizens in rural parts of the state. Through interprofessional education, the Rural Health Initiative has brought students, faculty and staff in contact with the communities in rural areas such as Chambers County. 

To meet that goal, the Rural Health Initiative follows a comprehensive assessment plan including “improving access to healthcare services, promoting preventive care, and addressing unique challenges faced by rural communities,” according to Auburn Outreach. 

The Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center has been the flagship center for the Rural Health Initiative’s mission. In 2022, the center officially opened with the OnMed telehealth station.

The program has provided real-world educational experiences for students, while also encouraging them to contribute to the health of rural and underserved communities through outreach and research. 

Since opening, the center has hosted several health screenings and resource events such as speech and hearing screenings, flu and COVID-19 tests and comprehensive health screenings. The wellness center has had the highest number of visitors to the OnMed station of four currently in use in the country. 

In February, Cost gave the first yearly report to the county commission stating that OnMed has had 592 patients alone. Almost 200 faculty, staff, and students have attended or volunteered for tours, programs and open houses at the center since opening. 

Recently, the Initiative was also awarded a $3 million grant to expand the initiative to 14 other communities in Alabama. Along with the telehealth station, they will also be installing telehealth carts at each location, including the Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center.