Volunteer / Non-Profit
Access to healthcare in rural areas of Alabama is a recognized issue in our state. An even greater issue is the lack of access to healthcare in specialized fields such as Dermatology. There are actually eight areas of Alabama that have no access to nearby dermatologists, leading to serious diseases such as skin cancers to go undetected among the people who live in these underserved areas.
Dr. Bentley, founder of Dermatology Care of Alabama, recognized this issue for years, and while serving as the state’s Governor even launched initiatives aimed at placing more doctors in rural areas of Alabama. When Dr. Bentley returned to practicing medicine after his time in public service, he co-founded the non-profit (501c3) organization Great State Alabama.
The first area of focus of Great State Alabama is bringing health care to those who have limited access to it, especially those in rural Alabama. In 65 of Alabama’s 67 counties, there is a shortage of doctors. In fact, Alabama ranks 40th in the country in the number of physicians per capita. The majority of Alabama is rural, yet rural physicians make up less than 10-percent of the physician workforce.
Great State Alabama recognizes this disparity among regions of the state as it relates to access to specialized medicine. Where some rural and underserved regions may have at least limited access to family medicine, specialists serving these regions are rare.
Through the non-profit, Dr. Bentley and volunteers travel on a regular basis to underserved areas of the state where they hold free skin cancers screenings and general dermatology clinics. To date, dozens of skin cancers have been detected including melanomas. Once detected, those patients are referred to a nearby doctor for further treatment.
If you are interested in learning more about Great State Alabama or if you would like to volunteer or request a free clinic in your area, click the link below.