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2023 HERS Main Photo 3

By: Sunasia Mims

With over 570 visits since 2019, the Doc on the Spot Community Care Clinic has been a source of preventive healthcare for underinsured residents of Orrville, Alabama. As the program's current phase draws to a close, its impact for addressing healthcare disparities in rural areas is undeniable. 

Brenda Collins, an unwavering community liaison, has been a constant and reassuring figure, extending her assistance and support. Collins’ commitment shines as she shares, "Our community flourishes when we help each other; I’m passionate about encouraging others and showing acts of kindness to the patients.” 

Outside of Selma in Alabama’s Black Belt lies Orrville, a community where access to care was on a steady decline. The UAB Minority Health & Health Equity Research Center (MHERC) was eager to help residents address health barriers and established the Orrville Building Healthy Communities (BHC) Coalition in June 2018. Following a community needs assessment, the Doc on the Spot Community Care Clinic emerged in Spring 2019, dedicated to delivering quality care to the area. 

The Doc on the Spot program has since served as a valuable resource for underinsured residents of Orrville providing regular clinics on the second Friday of each month. No appointments are required – just an open-door policy and a request for any patients to bring with them their current medications. As of July 2023, over 100 patients who did not have easy access to health care, maintained regular visits benefiting from the program's support services. 

Orrville’s community faces barriers, including limited access to transportation and medical care. Collins reflects on an incident sharing, “I recall a patient who required a last-minute appointment but faced transportation issues that prevented her from driving two hours to her physician’s office. The program allowed her physician to meet her much closer." Staffed by UAB Selma Family Medicine residents, the Doc on the Spot program provides free examinations, tests, and prescriptions. 

The nearest clinic is 20 minutes away in Selma, emphasizing the crucial role that Doc on the Spot plays in bridging the transportation gap. Tiffany Osborne, Director of Community Engagement for the UAB MHERC, encapsulates the mission, “We are helping people overcome the challenges that prevent them from being healthy.” The initiative is a lifeline for individuals and families who may otherwise struggle to access the services they deserve.

The program is a dynamic partnership between UAB Selma Family Medicine, UAB MHERC, United Way of Selma and Dallas County, and the Orrville BHC Coalition. While the initial grant that funded this program reached its conclusion in July, partners have come together to ensure the program’s continuance throughout the end of the year. Doc on the Spot has created a lasting impact in the community of Orrville. We hope to work towards expanding the program to cater to other rural areas with similar needs.

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