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U. S. Surgeon General Addressed Black Belt Health Summit

Contributed Report

MONTGOMERY-U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona was among those speaking at the two-day Alabama Black Belt Healthcare Summit this week.

Carmona spoke at noon Thursday at the summit which was at Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center in downtown. Children’s health was the focus of the summit, which was hosted by the Community Care Network.

The summit continued through Friday and was designed to provide updates and refocus the goals of Gov. Bob Riley’s Black Belt Action Commission. The commission was formed a year ago to make improvements in Alabama’s Black Belt counties, which has often been compared to a third-world country.

The summit, hosted by the Community Care Network, also included addresses from Gov. Riley, state Treasurer Kay Ivey and state Sen. Hank Sanders, both of whom co-chair the commission, U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, who is a member of commission’s health committee, and Bill Johnson, Black Belt executive director and acting director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

CCN is a non-profit, community-based organization of community leaders, volunteers and medical professions established to provide medical services for the underserved.

“This is an opportunity to identify the barriers of healthy living for some of Alabama’s children as well as help our children live healthy lives,” said Dr. Leon N. Davis, president and founder of the Community Care Network. “By talking to those in the healthcare field as well as teachers, parents and children, we can find solutions and eliminate healthcare disparities for those in the Black Belt region. We believe that the discussion of these issues will put us on a track to change the lives of all Alabamians.”

Last year, more than 400 people attended the first summit. Community leaders, health-care providers, researchers, policy makers, educators, social workers, mental health professional, representatives from faith-based organizations, and federal, state and local government officials were expected to attend this year. Credits were awarded to doctors, nurses, educators and social workers who attended the two-day conference.

Learn more about CCN at www.comcarenetwork.org.

Those wishing to volunteer to serve on the Governor’s Black Belt Action Commission may do so at www.blackbeltaction.org or by calling 334-353-1540 in Montgomery, or toll free 1-866-468-2323 outside the area.