University expands pandemic coverage to underserved areas



Members of the Office of Health Services who will assist with the expanded coverage in underserved areas are Dr. Ashley Tippines, LaTasha Ivey, Joyce D. Davis, DNP, Mahogani Woods, Cathy Reynolds, and Tamika Mims.

Staff Report, The Hornet Tribune

Since the COVID-19 pandemic pounced on the seen in 2020, Alabama State University’s Office of Health Services became an integral component for the metro-Montgomery area through vaccinations and information.
On Oct. 5, the Office of Health Services will expand its COVID-19 vaccination and testing efforts to underserved areas in Alabama’s Black Belt and other rural areas of the state.
A recent renewal grant pushed the total of funds received from the Alabama Pharmacy Association (APA) Alabama and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) of $750,000 allows for the expansion of services beyond the campus and the city of Montgomery.
The senior director of the Health Services Center, Joyce Loyd Davis, DNP, announced that the university will begin its expanded coverage on Oct. 5 and continue through Oct. 19.
“Thanks to the combined support of APA and ADPH, Alabama State University’s newest effort combines both an inaugural mobile vehicle effort that allows us greater reach and access both on and off campus and which reinforces the effort that began in 2020 at ASU under the leadership and support of President Quinton T. Ross, Jr., Ed.D., for such items as COVID vaccinations, testing and other prevention efforts,” Loyd-Davis said. “Our newest effort will allow us to reach out to assist in providing better healthcare services to the underserved residents of Alabama’s Black-Belt and other rural counties, as well as the Hornet Nation campus and additional locations with people who deserve healthcare assistance so that our citizens and the campus community will have the opportunity to access the latest and best COVID testing, vaccinations and other care.”
ASU’s upcoming dates and locations to offer Pandemic assistance for both COVID and the newly recognized Monkeypox disease includes the following:

* Oct. 5: COVID testing and vaccination clinic in Crenshaw County;

* Oct. 11: Monkeypox and COVID vaccination clinic at ASU;

* Oct. 17: Perry County testing and vaccination clinic;

* Oct. 18: ASU COVID and cancer clinic on campus at ASU;

* Oct. 19: Elmore County COVID testing and vaccination clinic.

Before this latest effort, Alabama State University was among the first in Alabama to plan a strategy and begin groundbreaking initiatives to protect the campus and then the community from COVID-19. When the pandemic began in early 2020, Loyd Davis and the Office of Health Services team were at the forefront of President Ross’s “CommUniversity” efforts related to COVID.
Now, with the two combined grants of $750,000, the team will expand its health and safety programs beyond the boundaries of the ASU campus and outside of Montgomery to the state’s rural population.
“Thanks to the APA Service Corps and the Alabama Department of Public Health’s renewal grant, we will now be able to help make a difference within rural areas where residents have a hard time getting these specialized healthcare services. This is President Ross’s ideal of ‘CommUniversity’ in action, which involves ASU reaching out to help those within the community with services and outreach programs from the University,” Loyd Davis said.
The university’s proactive efforts to date have included testing and vaccinations campus wide, as well as for the Montgomery Housing Authority, Hyundai Motor Alabama, the Montgomery Public Schools System, as well as the general public.
To serve areas off-campus, the recent grant award include an allocation for a new means of transportation for the health services team.
“Our new COVID Support Vehicle will allow us to maximize our reach while transporting important and delicate vaccines and supplies to help those outside of urban areas,” Loyd Davis stated.
A recent hire for ASU’s Health Center is Registered Nurse Sherrae Walton, a Montgomery native with an interesting connection to both of ASU’s COVID Pandemic leaders — Ross and Loyd Davis.
“I have really come full-circle by being employed at ASU since President Ross was my principal at McIntyre Junior High School and Dr. Loyd Davis oversaw me as a nursing student at Virginia College,” Walton said by phone. “Being here with them and under their positive influence affords me the opportunity to again increase my knowledge and ability under their tutelage while we all work together toward the common goal of helping reduce our community’s vulnerability and susceptibility from one of the world’s most dangerous pandemics in recent times.”
“It is important for ASU’s Health Services to stay in the vanguard as a community and campus leader so it may do all it can do to help control and greatly reduce the COVID Pandemic. ‘CommUniversity’ is an important part of ASU’s Strategic Plan, and thanks to our grant funding partners, we will continue in our efforts to uplift the health and welfare of the campus and our greater community of residents. That is the ASU way,” Loyd Davis said.