Mobile County Public Schools and the University of South Alabama on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding, forming a partnership to create the Student Health Services Center at LeFlore High School.
Doctors and residents from USA will staff the center, serving students and mentoring others who hope to train for careers in the healthcare field. The center is a part of LeFlore’s Law, Arts and Health Services Signature Academy.
“The great lesson that we learn here is not about necessarily just healthcare. It’s about what a community can do when it works together to have a vision and make it happen, said Larry Mouton, MCPSS assistant superintendent for workforce development. “The Signature Academies in Mobile are about business and industry coming in, not for a day, not to make a speech, but to work with our young people every single day and change the way they think about life.”
Dr. Michael Linder, professor of family medicine at South Alabama, said USA’s partnership in the project is a way for doctors to fulfill their mission of serving their community.
“We consider this part of our duty,” Linder said. “We really are interested in the health of this community. The way you make a community healthy is you identify problems in the community and you treat them before they become big problems later on. … By treating those early and trying to change the lifestyle and make it more healthy, we hope it will improve this community and also encourage some kids here to go into the healthcare field.
“We don’t have enough minorities in healthcare to begin with. That’s why this program is so important,” he added. “The way you make a community better is by getting people from the community to provide for the area. If we don’t train them to provide the care, we can’t get them in the communities.”
Joining Mouton and Linder in signing the MOU on Tuesday were LeFlore Principal Alvin Dailey and LeFlore Dean of Health Science Kathy Shelton.
LeFlore student Boss Davis said he’s excited about the clinic, because it’ll help him reach his career goal of becoming a podiatrist.
“I have a huge history of family members with bad feet, gout and different medical problems with their feet,” Davis said, adding that he’s known what he wants to do since he was 9 years old. “Every time I walk into class, there’s nothing I can do except smile and realize that I have a jump-start on life that’s not like anybody else I know. … I’ll be able to go to college and once I get out of college I’ll be able to go into the medical field I want to go into, and already know what I need to know to be a great leader.”
Along with USA, administrators and teachers at LeFlore wished to thank the following people, companies and organizations for their help in making the health center a reality: BBVA Compass Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Bishop State Community College, Richard Nichols Sr., Richard Nichols Jr., Kenneth Blackwell, Tillie Womack, Anitra Belle-Henderson, Valencia Belle and Annette “Toni” Belle.