A message from Dr. Richard Friend, Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences

April 5, 2021

I want to let you know about some exciting new developments at University Medical Center.

We are expanding our clinical footprint in several medically underserved and rural communities in the state. We opened UMC-Fayette in February to provide prenatal care in that community. Alabama has a high infant mortality rate, including in Fayette County, and not enough prenatal care is a key contributor. An absence of prenatal care can lead to low-birthweight babies and greater incidence of infant mortality.

We are working to establish a UMC location in Carrollton in 2021 to provide care in family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, with additional services planned for the future. It was just over a year ago that the Pickens County Medical Center in Carrollton closed, leaving the rural county with less access to health care. We hope to fill some of that gap.

We want to increase our presence in Alabama’s Black Belt, named for its once dark topsoil but that today, with health care scarce in the region, is burdened with disproportionate health disparities and among the worst health outcomes in the state and nation. We opened UMC-Demopolis several years ago and are planning for a location in Livingston to provide primary care to that city and surrounding counties.

The University of Alabama is merging its Student Health Center with UMC in Tuscaloosa. The union will give UA students access to expanded health-care services, including gynecological and women’s health, neurology, sports medicine, endoscopy, endocrinology and hospital-based care.

Construction will soon begin on an addition to UMC in Tuscaloosa that will house UA’s new MRI Research Center. The center is a collaboration of UA’s Office for Research and Economic Development, Alabama Life Research Institute and UMC and will allow researchers from health sciences, psychology, communicative disorders, education and engineering to collaborate on research about the human brain and its development.

In another important research development, the College of Community Health Sciences, which operates UMC, partnered with UA’s Office of Research and Economic Development and Alabama Life Research Institute to bring a team of preeminent biomedical sciences researchers to campus. The researchers have a solid track record in oral drug discovery and major National Institutes of Health grant funding. They are working on new therapies, among them treatment for diabetic cataracts and oral insulin therapy, and their discoveries will benefit UMC patients and Alabama communities.

At UMC, we are steadfast in our mission: Caring for West Alabama. Please know that if you are already a patient, it is our privilege to care for you. If you are not a patient, we hope you consider making University Medical Center your health-care home.

The College of Community Health Sciences operates University Medical Center