MEDICAL ADVOCACY AND OUTREACH
(Extensions of Remarks - October 11, 2017)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 163 (Wednesday, October 11, 2017)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1356-E1357]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                     MEDICAL ADVOCACY AND OUTREACH

                                 ______
                                 

                          HON. TERRI A. SEWELL

                               of alabama

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, October 11, 2017

  Ms. SEWELL of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, today I am proud to recognize 
Medical Advocacy and Outreach (MAO) for 30 years of dedicated service 
to the rural and underserved communities of Alabama. MAO, formerly 
known as Medical AIDS Outreach and Montgomery AIDS Outreach, is a 
private, non-profit, Rural Health and Wellness Organization and 
Community Based AIDS Service Organization in Montgomery, Alabama. It 
was founded in 1987 by a group of volunteers who were both directly and 
indirectly affected by HIV/AIDS.
   In 1994, after being awarded Ryan White Care Act Part C funds, MAO 
transitioned from a volunteer education and service organization to a 
full-time, health care facility. Because of the hard work of many 
working together on the local, state and federal level over the years, 
MAO now operates the largest HIV-specific health care facility by 
geographic area within the state of Alabama, the Copeland Care Clinic. 
I am inspired by the small group of volunteers, many who are still 
involved and supportive today, who have been responsible for the growth 
of this organization over the past 30 years. Today, MAO provides 
education services to members of the community and medical and social 
services to those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, 
and Diabetes. MAO and the Copeland Clinic currently provide services to 
over 1600 patients who live in Montgomery and 28 surrounding counties 
in Southeast Alabama.
   In addition, MAO provides an array of comprehensive services and 
care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, including: medication 
assistance, pharmacist consultations, housing services, an on-site food 
pantry, mental health counseling/case management, patient education, 
prevention education, free HIV and Hepatitis C testing, PrEP and 
interpretation services for Spanish-speaking individuals and the 
hearing impaired. Through their Telehealth Resource Center, they assist 
other providers with the integration of telemedicine technology into 
patient-centered environments in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New York, 
South Carolina, and Tennessee.
   In addition to providing direct health care services, MAO educates 
the public about HIV/AIDS and related illnesses and how to prevent 
transmission of infection. To this end, the organization has made 
significant progress in educating the public on the reality that a 
person living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load cannot 
transmit the virus to their partners. This is why the staff at MAO also 
works so hard to ensure that individuals living with HIV receive 
regular treatment. As a matter of fact, MAO has a new initiative called 
``Zero by 2020.'' The targeted goal is to have no new HIV diagnoses in 
Lowndes County, Alabama in the year 2020. I truly believe this can be 
done if we support organizations like MAO that provide free testing and 
educate citizens on the importance of getting regular health 
screenings.
   MAO has two full service health and wellness clinics in Montgomery 
and Dothan where specialty care and related primary and dental care is 
provided to individuals living with HIV, Hepatitis C, and Diabetes. In 
addition to these full service facilities, MAO operates 10 rural 
telemedicine sites throughout Alabama in the following locations: 
Marengo County; Lowndes County; Dallas County; Perry County; Barbour 
County; Escambia County; Conecuh County; Covington County, Henry 
County; and Pike County. As the Member of Congress that represents the 
Black Belt, I am honored to be able to work with

[[Page E1357]]

MAO and other partners in their work to provide health care services to 
rural populations through telemedicine.
   The services that MAO provides have grown to include a licensed 
professional counselor, mental health counselling and assessments, 
including for substance abuse and addiction, social services, and 
maternal and infant services. MAO collaborates with three area 
substance abuse treatment centers to provide prevention education to 
recovering addicts. MAO also houses the Alabama AIDS Education and 
Training Center (AETC), a continuing education program serving 
healthcare providers and professionals statewide.
   The board, staff, and community partners with MAO work every day to 
fulfill their vision, which is to eradicate HIV/AIDS and other diseases 
that impact our most vulnerable neighbors. The progress this 
organization has made in 30 years demonstrates what can be accomplished 
when dedicated and committed individuals work together for substantive 
change. I am proud to be the Member of Congress that represents MAO. 
The reality is that all individuals living with HIV/AIDS and related 
illnesses deserve to live a healthy life filled with dignity and 
respect. Thanks to MAO, countless lives have been touched and saved by 
their work.

                          ____________________