The City of Dadeville is joining a multi-million dollar healthcare initiative that aims at addressing long-term health effects of COVID-19.
Councilwoman Teneeshia Goodman-Johnson announced the city’s partnership with the Equitable Neighborhoods Initiative, a $4 million statewide effort that the University of Alabama. The university chartered the initiative last year to assist communities affected by the pandemic.
The project launched as a measure to address major healthcare gaps within Alabama’s rural and diverse communities. According to Goodman-Johnson, the pandemic disproportionately impacted Dadeville and the Lake Martin area due to the region lacking a robust healthcare infrastructure.
“COVID is creeping back up again, and there are needs here in this community that we know, the state knows and the CDC knows. We are the looked-over people. We’re small, but COVID hit us. It hit us very hard,” she said.
The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development leads ENI statewide, and plans to help build lasting infrastructure that promotes healthy living among communities in the project.
As such, Goodman-Johnson explained that Dadeville along with 14 other Alabama communities will participate in the program in order to connect local neighborhoods with healthcare resources. The councilwoman has been selected as community liaison for the university, and is currently leading the formation of a committee to oversee the initiative.
“We need to try to create some kind of health care network so in the future people will know who to call, they will know who to get in touch with,” she said. “They need to know the people at the county health department and that is why I'm trying to create a board.”
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The Equitable Neighborhoods Initiative is supported by grant funds made available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Among the project’s goals include furthering Dadeville’s community development as well improving health equity throughout the Lake Martin area. To meet that end, Goodman-Johnson aims for the committee to comprise a diverse group.
“I want people on the advisory board that will really work hard, and I want people that are interested in trying to create a healthcare directory that will serve our community during future healthcare challenges,” she said. “I want to hear from young people. I want to hear from the retired community as well as retired and current nurses.”
Goodman-Johnson ultimately hopes that the project highlights Dadeville’s value as a community and aids in the city’s pandemic recovery.
“I just want people to see that there are good things happening in small communities,” she said. “I want people in that network to see other small communities in the state of Alabama and see what it is that we do. That we're a loving community and to stop looking over us. We're not to be overlooked.”
The committee's first meeting is scheduled for sometime in August.