Huntsville nonprofits push for more medical accessibility for underserved populations

WAFF 48's Romario Gardner reporting
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 11:13 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Two local nonprofits are working to help cater to the medical needs of underserved populations in the Rocket City.

Members of Thrive Alabama and United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Huntsville informed City Council members about how they plan to achieve those goals during Thursday night’s city council meeting.

UCP CEO Cheryl Smith said the company is requesting $25,000 from the city to hire a full-time Spanish-speaking coordinator to connect medical services to the Hispanic communities.

“So many different cultures have their own barriers and their own difficulties accessing services,” Smith said. “And so they are very often reluctant to ask for outside services”

The new outreach coordinator will be able to go into Hispanic businesses, schools, or different churches to help bridge the gap between language and cultural differences.

The CEO of Thrive Alabama, Mary Marr, said the company raised $3 million for a brand new 72,000 sqft. health center in North Huntsville but is asking for $2.1 million the city received from a recent opioid settlement.

Marr said the company recently purchased 13 acres of land on Oakwood Avenue and Washington Street for the building to let people know it’s serious about making improvements to the community.

“I believe that health care is a right it’s not a benefit in this country,” Marr said. “We’re the richest country in the world and yet we have people that can’t don’t have health care, don’t have adequate health care.”

A vote for UCP’s coordinator will take place in September, and if approved, will start October 1.

Marr said once the company secures the required funds, the new medical facility should be finished within 14-18 months.

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