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Black Belt Committees seeing success and growth

MARION-Tuesday’s town hall meeting on the campus of Judson College gave the Black Belt Action Commission a chance to focus on health-care access and the progress some committees and programs have made.

Three particular programs received great praise. One such was the Black Belt Eye Care Consortium.

Lisa Deats, who was there to represent the Eye Care Consortion, said she was very pleased with the progress the program had made.

“We are very proud of the accomplishments of our programs,” Deats said. “Since September of 2004 we have managed to see 3,148 children in 12 Black Belt Counties. About 422 of those children needed vision care services and each one has been followed up on for vision care services.”

Deats said their goal was to scan every kindergartner in the state.

Kid One transport was another program that received praise. Kid One Transport System provides free transportation to children under the age of 19 and pregnant women who have no reliable means of transportation to reach medical care. As of March, the organization served 38 Alabama counties and had provided 83,000 rides. An estimated 40,000 Alabama children qualify for the service, 8,000 of them in the Black Belt.

Holley Lawler, who was at the meeting to represent Kid One Transport, said her program had also seen a great deal of growth in the region.

“Over the last year Kidd One Transport has brought over 300 more children into the program in the Black Belt region,” Lawler said. “They are kids that need to reach medical care in the Black Belt Region or outside.”

Community Care Network was the third program receiving recognition. This program has seen tremendous success and seems to be expanding to a point where it can blanket all 12 Black Belt counties.

Dr. Leon Davis, a Black Belt physician, said continued support for the program has led to its success. He said the program has lofty goals for the future.

“With the support of this commission we know we can meet all our goals,” Lawler said. “Our goal is to help as many people as possible and see a positive outcome.”

Davis said they are their work in Montgomery has led to a great deal of success, which he hopes to spread around the Black Belt.

“At this time we are working with the commission to put our health care in the 12 Black Belt counties,” Davis said. “We have been doing annual health cares in Montgomery County for the last five or six years and seeing about 300 people. We have over 100 doctors in the network who are providing health care to those people.”

Davis said they had already performed health care in five Black Belt counties and hoped to get the other seven within the next six months. He said they have begun forming close relationships with the people in the area will only add to their momentum.

“It has been extremely successful,” Davis said. “The partnerships we have developed have been enormous. We have multiple medical units that are coming from different parts of the state to help provide services to the Black Belt counties and they have done a wonderful job so far.”

The program screens for diabetes, blood pressure problems, cholesterol and osteoporosis. They also perform breast cancer and prostate screenings along with dental screenings.”

Davis said he is proud of what they have accomplished with health care. However, he said they had even bigger plans for the future.

“The health care is our short term goal,” Davis said. “What we want to do is go through all 12 of these Black Belt counties establish countywide health care, introduce ourselves to them, develop partnerships and continue to expand our programs.”