Alabama A&M project to bring mobile testing to low-income areas

Alabama A&M project to bring mobile testing to low-income areas

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A project two years in the making is finding a new purpose.

Through a collaboration between Huntsville Hospital, Alabama A&M and Toyota, people in low income areas will be tested for COVID-19.
Through a collaboration between Huntsville Hospital, Alabama A&M and Toyota, people in low income areas will be tested for COVID-19. (Source: WAFF)

A couple years ago, Toyota awarded Alabama A&M University money to invest in a mobile health unit.

That unit just pulled onto campus. But now there’s a plan for it to do much more.

The original plan: pulling a mobile unit into low income neighborhoods to provide free health care.

“Go to a community and check some of the basic health situations for diabetes, high blood pressure.”

Then....

“COVID-19 came into the picture.”

Ernest Cebert, a faculty member for the College of Agriculture at Alabama A&M, says the mobile unit will soon be used in the fight against COVID-19.

“No one that we are testing for COVID-19 will be brought into this unit. In here you would simply have the supply and the storage for the staff that is doing the testing,” he explained.

Cebert says it’s a great opportunity to get students involved.

“To take our students away from the classroom and put them in the community to address real life situations. And as they do that then they have to come up with solutions,” he said.

But students won’t be physically doing the testing. Cebert says Alabama A&M is giving Huntsville Hospital $100,000 from the Toyota grant to oversee the operation and cover testing costs.

“For us to have a healthy community we have to have a completely healthy community. Not just one segment of society that is able to pay for it,” Mary Elizabeth Marr, the CEO of THRIVE Alabama said.

Marr tells us she’s thrilled about the plan. And reaching low income areas.

“If you’re not sure or you’re afraid you might be turned down for something, you’re not going to go get in line for it,” she said.

Cebert says he hopes the wheels are rolling through Huntsville this summer or early fall.

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