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UA to address COVID-19 issues in underserved communities

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TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBMA) The University of Alabama has received more than $4 million to improve health care equity in underserved communities.

According to leaders at UA's Center for Economic Development, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed many health disparities across Alabama. A project called, Equitable Neighborhoods Initiative, will work in 15 communities across the state to address COVID-19 concerns while also establishing a support system to deal with future health problems.

Funds for the two-year project were awarded from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health.

"Minorities have been disproportionally affected by COVID, not only in infection rates, but also hospitalizations and death and not to mention the other issues in regards to employment, some of the educational needs out there," said Dr. Arturo Menefee, the project leader and director of leadership development at the center.

The project will establish a local team coordinator, advisory group and youth council in each community to implement this initiative.

Each community will participate in capacity building workshops surrounding topics like health disparities and community engagement.

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“We recognize that people are exposed to different circumstances and want to give them the resources they need to level the playing field,” Menefee said.

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Communities for the project have not been selected as of Monday. Menefee hopes the initiative will kick off by December.

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