How It Began
Maude L. Whatley
In 1977, a one-night a week free clinic was opened at the Salvation Army Citadel to meet the medical needs of the medically underserved population of the West Tuscaloosa community. This clinic was supported by community funding and operated by University of Alabama medical students utilizing equipment furnished by the university. An average of 15 patients were seen each night the clinic was open.
The vast amount of patients attending the clinic made it necessary to move to a larger facility. Supporters of the clinic organized into a small, nonprofit corporation and were granted federal funding to establish a health care facility. In October 1978, the West Tuscaloosa Community Health Center, an evening and weekend clinic, began operations from a renovated church on Herman Avenue. Residents from Capstone Medical Center manned the clinic until a full-time physician was found and regular daytime hours were established.
Expansion To Meet Need
In a few short years, the health center once again needed to expand. In February 1985, the current facility opened its doors to patients. The new clinic was named in honor of Maude L. Whatley who was one of the founders of the West Tuscaloosa Community Health Center. The Board of Directors, staff and supporters are fortunate and honored that we may continue to move toward the accomplishment of her dream.
Due to phenomenal growth, an additional expansion was required to further meet the needs of the medically underserved of the Tuscaloosa area. In 1990, Maude L. Whatley Health Center completed yet another expansion effort; thereby, doubling the size of the original building.
In carrying out its mission to provide quality, comprehensive medical care to residents of the West Tuscaloosa area, on August 1, 1993, Maude L. Whatley Center opened the doors to its dental suite. The Theodore Hendrix Dental Suite was a response to a very pressing need for quality, affordable dental care for the residents of West Tuscaloosa and the surrounding area.
A Name Change & More
In 1994, the Board of Directors voted to change the name of the corporation to Whatley Health Services, Inc. renamed in honor of the original founder, Maude L. Whatley.
Working with the Tuscaloosa County Housing Authority to improve access to health care in eastern Tuscaloosa, Whatley opened its first satellite center in 1999, the Crescent East Center. This satellite serves the residents of Crescent East Housing Community and the residents of east Tuscaloosa.
In 2000, Whatley received a Ryan White Title III grant to better serve the HIV (+) residents of West Alabama. Services are provided to the residents of Walker, Fayette, Lamar, Pickens, Perry, Bibb, Hale, Greene, Sumter and Tuscaloosa Counties. HIV primary care is provided at three locations within the service area, Walker, Tuscaloosa and Sumter Counties.
In 2001, Whatley was challenged by the Health Resource Service Administration (HRSA) to open six new satellite centers located in Walker, Bibb, Hale, Greene and Sumter Counties. Whatley Health Services, Inc. met this challenge and in July, 2001 opened the doors to West Blocton Health Center. The final center, Whatley Health Services, Inc. at Sipsey, opened its door in February, 2002. In addition to the medical centers, HRSA called for a dental facility located in Hale County to be opened. Whatley opened its second dental facility in August, 2003. Each of these Centers serves a vital role in the community providing quality health care to the uninsured and underinsured.
To better meet the dental needs of clients in West Alabama, Whatley Health Services, Inc. opened the Theodore R. Hendrix Dental Center in January, 2006. The new dental center is located on the campus of the main center. This expansion has allowed the Dental Center to increase access to dental services.
From Past to Future
In 2007, Whatley Health Services, Inc. applied for and received New Access Point Grant funding to provide additional services to the homeless population and at risk children of West Alabama. This allowed us to open the James O. Ellis Health Center in Tuscaloosa, the Vernon Health Center in Vernon, Alabama as well as acquire a mobile health unit to provide mobile medical and dental service to serve residents in our ten county service area.
Since its beginnings as the West Tuscaloosa Community Health Center, the name has changed, but the quality, caring, compassion and respect for the people we serve remains the same. We remain dedicated and committed to our mission and to the provision of health care for the residents of Tuscaloosa County and surrounding areas.