Access to healthcare in rural Alabama is a recognized issue in our state. An even greater issue in our state is the lack of access to quality healthcare in specialty fields like Dermatology. This is clearly illustrated in the article titled "Analysis of Trends in Geographic Distribution and Density of US Dermatologists", published by JAMA Dermatology in April 2017. The article found that 51% of Dermatologists surveyed believe that the supply of Dermatologists in their community was less than required. More importantly to our project, according to the journal, the geographic density of dermatologists per 100,000 people indicates eight areas of Alabama have zero access to nearby dermatologists, more geographic gaps than any neighboring southeastern state.
Distance to dermatology clinics, transportation costs and appointment availability are among the largest barriers to serving these patients. Because of these obstacles, thousands of Alabamians struggle with adequate access to clinical dermatology services. As a 40-year practicing dermatologist, Dr. Robert Bentley of Dermatology Care of Alabama leads a project designed to bring basic clinical services to these areas. He has conducted multiple single-day clinics in rural areas of West Alabama over the years and is replicating this service in other underserved areas of our state as a first step in increasing accessibility for patients.
To help provide dermatology and family medical services in underserved areas, Great State 2019 Inc, a 501(c)3 public charity, is conducting a statewide Great State Rural Clinic tour through a series of single day events, providing a range of FREE examinations, diagnosis and treatments. Donations received will support the mission of bringing improved healthcare services to rural parts of Alabama.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, sanitizing exam rooms and common areas after each patient has become vital. With this in mind we have established a capital campaign to acquire a mobile medical unit, which will allow us to isolate our patients and ensure that we sufficiently clean all areas after each use.