By Tehreem Khan
The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) hosted a tree-planting event for its neighbor community of Titusville earlier this month, as part of the larger initiative Live HealthSmart Alabama.
Titusville is one of the first communities where African Americans were allowed to own real estate, both residential and commercial. Despite its historical roots as a “community of opportunities,” it has been devastated and blighted for a long time, which is evident by the overwhelming numbers of dilapidated houses.
“We are so proud of this event . . .which is a larger part of the strategy to revitalize Titusville,” said Archie Hill, spokesperson for the Titusville Development Corporation.
When communities and partners work together with common goals, people become healthier and stronger, and communities can thrive.
“The Birmingham Sunrise Rotary Club has been involved with community service projects in Birmingham for over 30 years, so it’s great to be a part of this revitalization effort in the Titusville community,” Club President Counce Drinkard said. “The impact of this project, along with other planned projects, will have positive and lasting effects on that community and Birmingham at large.”
Partnering with UAB’s Live HealthSmart Alabama and community leaders on this project enhances their ability to fulfill the club’s mission of service above self, he says.
“We are excited about the opportunities UAB’s Live HealthSmart Alabama has planned and look forward to supporting these community-focused projects in the future,” Drinkard said.
In addition to the Sunrise Rotary Club, other partners participating in the event include the UAB Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center, Cawaco Resource Conservation and Development Council, the City of Birmingham, and TreesBirmingham.
“Today, when you plant a tree, know that it is more than a tree for this community,” Hill said. “It is hope. It is revitalization. It is a reincarnation of this community.”
Live HealthSmart is a comprehensive plan to work with businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, and non-profits in order to make changes to policies, systems, and build environment impacting the health of Alabamians.
The MHRC is a University-Wide Interdisciplinary Research Center that conducts research and training, as well as creating programs to reduce health disparities experienced by vulnerable populations.