I have had the good fortune to have visited every health-related facility in 51 rural Alabama counties, studying rural health status and needs as a consultant for the Alabama Medical Education Consortium. This Consortium served for several years as a “medical school without walls” and was the predecessor to the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dothan, Alabama. I am honored to be recognized for my data contributions to the establishment of this medical school.
Being able to visit and talk with a diverse array of health care providers in every different type of health care facility has provided me with a vast knowledge of what the status of rural health care actually is. I have seen innovative ideas being applied by visionary administrators and staff. I have seen the most basic health related services going unprovided.
I served as the Director of Statistical Analysis in Alabama’s Center for Health Statistics from 1986 through 2000 where I had the opportunity to greatly expand the availability of health and health-related data. One of my most satisfying data accomplishments was the development and publishing of County Health Status Reports, comparing the county to Alabama and the United States on over 90 health-related indicators. These reports have been published three times for each of Alabama’s 67 counties. For this and other contributions to Alabama’s health-related data, I was recognized with the Ira Myers Award for Excellence by the Alabama Public Health Association. This is the highest award for public health service in Alabama, given to those providing a significant impact on public health in the state. Later, as a part-time data specialist and analyst with Alabama’s State Office of Rural Health from 2000 through 2016, I was again recognized by the Alabama Public Health Association as a recipient of the D. G. Gill, M.D. Award for technical assistance to health stakeholders.
I served as Executive Director of the Alabama Rural Health Association from 2000 through 2018 where I had numerous opportunities to share my knowledge of rural health in Alabama and use my sincere passion for having adequate and quality health care in our rural areas. I left this position in 2018 to have more freedom in advocating for the health and health-related needs of rural Alabama.
I am a native of Alabama’s Black Belt Region (Marengo County) and currently live with my wife of 42 years, Susan, in rural Montgomery County.