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BWWMH, organizations provide visiting healthcare professionals glimpse of community

Doctor residents toured Bryan W. Whitefield Memorial Hospital and the City of Demopolis on Friday. The tour was an effort of West Central Alabama Area Health Education Center (WCAAHEC) to bring in new doctors to the hospital.

“If you’re from around the area, you know we have a shortage of healthcare professionals in this hospital,” said Adrian Collier, program coordinator for WCAAHEC.

Current and future healthcare professionals who are looking for a permanent hospital to start their practice after they complete their residency at other hospitals came down from areas such as Tuscaloosa, Selma and Centreville.

They were given a tour of the hospital and of Demopolis’ “greatest attractions”. After the hospital, the doctors visited Gaineswood, Kingfisher Bay marina, Bluff Hall and Rooster Hall along with the rest of the historic downtown area.

They enjoyed lunch at Stacy’s Café before touring housing available in the area “to give them an idea of places they can stay,” the city’s clinics, the schools and Demopolis Sportsplex. The doctors also spent some time shopping to see the local businesses of Demopolis.

“Demopolis is really like the meca of [Marengo County],” Collier said.

She said that, while a pediatrician and OBGYN is specifically needed at BWMMH, doctors in all practices are needed.

“It’s a rural area so there is a shortage of everything.”

Collier also said that while Demopolis has a lot to offer residents, especially those with children, the partnership between BWWMH and University of Alabama at Birmingham makes it even more attractive.

“I think anytime you see UAB, especially at a healthcare facility, you think ‘Okay, it’s the cream of the crop and the top of the top,’ so who wouldn’t want to work for UAB?”

Collier thanked WCAAHEC Interim Executive Director Katie Summerville, Bill Mackey, Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce, Kirk Brooker and BWWMH Marketer Stephanie Hoggle for their efforts in the residents tour.

“The tour was wonderful for us as well as the city.  We got to give residents and health care professionals a taste of life in the city of Demopolis.  The goal of AHEC is to bridge the gap between health care professionals and rural, underserved communities, and we think that with this Residency Tour, we can reach them by leaps and bounds.  This was our first tour, but definitely not our last.  Keep your eyes and ears open West Central Alabama AHEC.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, June 9, print edition of the Demopolis Times.)