DOTHAN, Ala. – February 6, 2019 – The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) plans to open a new rural health primary care clinic in Ashford, Ala., within the year. The new clinic, which will be located approximately seven miles from the campus and adjacent to the existing Southeast Health FirstMed facility, will help increase access to primary care for citizens and would focus on education of ACOM students within a nurturing, patient-centered environment. Under the umbrella of Southeast Health, the existing FirstMed clinic will remain open, seeing patients and providing uninterrupted health care services, until the transition to ACOM can be successfully completed.

ACOM, the academic division of Southeast Health, has been working with the City of Ashford for several months to formalize a plan to open the new clinic. The college, in partnership with Ashford leaders, recognized the need to increase health care options in the rural community and identified an opportunity to expand the health care coverage provided by an existing Southeast Health family practice clinic. On Monday, the Ashford City Council voted unanimously to provide an additional plot of land to the college, paving the way to build a separate, brand-new, 4,000-square-foot facility. This new clinic will be state-of-the-art, providing increased capacity and access to care for patients.

“This clinic will be a win-win for everyone – for Ashford, for ACOM and for Southeast Health,” said Craig J. Lenz, Sr., DO, Dean of ACOM. “We are grateful to the City of Ashford for their support of this project that will provide increased patient care to the community and exciting training opportunities for our medical students.”

The new clinic will serve as an ideal environment to include first- and second-year ACOM students in patient care in a real-world setting, prior to entering their clinical rotations during the third and fourth years of medical school. Lenz says that this experience will further highlight the great opportunities for medical education in the Wiregrass and foster a greater understanding of the patients this area serves.