In her State of the State address on Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey appealed to state lawmakers to quickly approve a new cutting-edge high school that will be focused on educating students in the healthcare sciences.
The idea of the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences was first mentioned by Ivey in her State of the State address last year.
“This school will directly expose young men and women from around Alabama, and particularly rural students, to various healthcare fields,” Ivey said. “And it gives them options.”
“Maybe they want to graduate with a credential to immediately start working a high-wage career, or maybe they want to go to college and become a nurse or maybe even attend medical or dental school. We will now give these students an opportunity and a state-of-the-art school to attend.”
Ivey said that Demopolis, where the school will be located, is the perfect fit given its proximity to Whitfield Regional Hospital.
“Already, we have received tremendous community support [from Demopolis], and the gold standard of rural healthcare is just a few steps away from the proposed site where these students will learn,” Ivey said. “And on top of all of this, the feasibility report commissioned by the Legislature last year has once again validated Demopolis as the ideal location for this important school –folks, let’s get this important project done.”
ASHS Foundation Chairman Rob Pearson credited Ivey, after her speech, with beginning the push for the new school and also thanked other individuals and organizations involved in the project.
“Since the day Gov. Ivey publicly announced the concept of this school – exactly a year ago – and her intention of it being built in Demopolis, we have joined with stakeholders across the state to support the proposed school,” Pearson said. “From the development of this Foundation, to working with wonderful people like Dr. Majd Zayzafoon at UAB, to securing funding of $26.4 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, we have made it clear that we take the responsibility seriously.”
Pearson also echoed Ivey’s choice of Demopolis as the chosen location.
“In the process of working with our healthcare partners and Bloomberg Philanthropies, we felt their support validated the school’s feasibility in Demopolis,” said Pearson. “To know the study commissioned by the Legislature says the same is further testament to this community’s ability to serve the entire state of Alabama.”
On January 17, the ASHS Foundation joined with state and local leaders to announce that the Alabama School of Healthcare Sciences was one of 10 educational programs in the country to receive funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies. That money, contingent upon the school being built in Demopolis, is thought to be the largest philanthropic gift ever in West Alabama.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.