University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations

June 28, 2007
Contact:  Jennifer Z. Ekman, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6360

USA’s Center for Healthy Communities Endowment Launched by Leaders

Leaders of the University of South Alabama’s Center for Healthy Communities have started a new endowment to benefit its research and outreach. The endowment will be used to provide funding for
coordinating community education, research, public service and health activities to help eliminate health disparities, foster access to health care for underserved populations, and enhance the capacity of individuals to better participate in decision-making about their health.

Dr. Harvey White, founder and director of the USA Center for Healthy Communities, and Dr. Errol Crook, co-director of the USA Center for Healthy Communities and Abraham Mitchell Chair of Internal Medicine at the USA College of Medicine, each have contributed $5,000 to the endowment. Their gifts have been matched by University funds for a total of $20,000.
Dr. Harvey White
Dr. Harvey White
The endowment gifts are part of Campaign USA, the University’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign that seeks to raise $75 million for USA programs, faculty, students and construction over three years. Campaign USA was launched in March 2006 and, to date, has raised $51.6 million. The Campaign USA Leadership team is comprised of local civic, business and national leaders, many of whom are alumni.

White said the endowment shows the staying power and importance of the USA Center for Healthy Communities.

“It will be a perpetual part of the University,” he said. “This endowment will be a source of revenue that allows it to be innovative, creative and always embrace future innovations and possibilities.”
White added, “Hopefully, the initiative that Errol and I have started will blossom and others will join in a short period of time.”

Dr. Errol Crook
Dr. Errol Crook
Crook said the endowment will help address the long-term issues of health disparities.

“Whatever we can do to support the center and its activities is very important to the University,” he said. “We do our best to involve the community in as many aspects of research efforts as we can. This will sustain the outreach efforts that are going on at the center.”

Dr. Samuel Strada, interim dean of the College of Medicine, said the endowment is important to the Center for Healthy Communities.
“The Center for Healthy Communities is a unique program with a specific mission of addressing issues of health disparities in the region. It is also a conduit for providing educational opportunities for medical students and other health professionals to address these important societal issues in a collaborative way.”

Ben R. Samel, director of leadership gifts and gift planning in USA’s Office of Development, said, “I applaud both Dr. Harvey White and Dr. Errol Crook for their leadership to establish this endowment to fund the USA Center for Healthy Communities.  When I met with Dr. White he was very enthusiastic about creating a lasting fund to support their efforts.  I would like to encourage other faculty and staff to make some type of commitment to this fund.  Since it is an endowment, their cash gifts would be matched by the University.”

Campaign USA will enrich all aspects of USA, from its academic colleges and schools to its hospitals, athletic programs, libraries and campuses. The money raised will be used to fund such items as undergraduate and graduate scholarships, professorships, classroom and laboratory equipment, and health care innovations. Funds will also be used for capital enhancements to USA’s track and soccer programs, a University archives building and campus bell tower.

For information on Campaign USA, visit or call (251) 460-7032.
For additional information or to contribute to the endowment, contact Samel at (251) 460-7906.

The University of South Alabama

Since its founding in 1963, the University of South Alabama has been one of Alabama’s fastest growing universities, currently enrolling more than 13,300 students in a wide range of academic programs in Allied Health Professions, Arts and Sciences, Mitchell College of Business, Computer and Information Sciences, Continuing Education and Special Programs, Education, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The University has awarded 60,000 degrees.

            In addition to teaching and research, USA is one of the largest health care providers in the Mobile region, with its faculty physicians and two hospitals – Children’s & Women’s and USA Medical Center ­­– involved in more than a quarter million patient encounters annually.
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