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Black Belt will get residential high school for rural health training

Facility was sponsored by Singleton, McCampbell, will be located in Demopois adjoining Whitfield Hospital campus

Gov. Kay Ivey announced plans to establish the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences in Demopolis, Ala., that will be strategically located adjacent to Whitfield Regional Hospital, during her State of the State address.

“This is something that we’ve been working on for about a year now,” said Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro), who represents the area. “Having this school located in the Black Belt will be a game-changer that will allow us to train and graduate medical support workers who can work in our area and throughout the state.”

The residential high school will welcome students from across the state during their 9th or 10th grade year, allowing them to receive three-or-four years of training, which will prepare them for a broad range of healthcare jobs that they can enter immediately upon graduation, and provide a strong foundation for students who want to continue their education at twoor- four-year colleges.

“This is a visionary endeavor,” said Rep. A.J. McCampbell (D-Gallion), who represents Marengo County. “Our healthcare system needs people in all areas, and this is an opportunity for us to help direct and focus young people who may have an interest in the medical field. This high school will give them a little head start on gaining the skills needed to immediately get them into the workforce.”

Whitfield Regional Hospital is managed by UAB Health System and has agreed to work with the school to provide hands-on training for the high school students.

“The partnership between the City of Demopolis, the State of Alabama, UAB, Wallace Community College, and other local stakeholders will ensure that the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences will be successful,” Singleton said. “This collaboration is ultimately going to save lives.”

The school is set to be complete by Spring of 2026 and will provide students with a concentration of science, technology, engineering, math, and medical programs embedded across the curriculum. Additionally, students will gain competencies in cultural awareness, interprofessional teamwork, behavioral health integration, communication, telehealth, social determinants of health, and practice transformation.

“It will not only be beneficial to the economy of West Alabama, but the State of Alabama as a whole,” McCampbell said