Dr. John Waits of Centreville is 2017 National Rural Health Day ‘Community Star’


CONTACT: Chuck Lail
(334) 206-5396

Dr. John Waits, chief executive officer and faculty physician of Cahaba Medical Care (CMC) in Centreville, is featured in the 2017 edition of the National Rural Health Day Community Stars.

In 2015, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health asked the 50 state offices of rural health to nominate hospital and emergency first responder teams, community health, and volunteer service heroes on the front lines of rural health who were making a positive impact on rural lives. State offices of rural health provide support to rural hospitals, clinics and first responders in several ways including technical assistance, funding that supports workforce development, population health management, quality improvement initiatives, and more.

In Alabama, the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health is located in the Alabama Department of Public Health and is directed by Charles Lail. In the nomination of Dr. Waits, it was noted that from the time CMC opened in 2004, it was decided that patients would never be turned away due to an inability to pay.

“We’ve held to our promise even when unemployment in the area went from 3 percent to 15 percent, and more patients found themselves without insurance,” Dr. Waits said. His particular interests are healthcare policy as it relates to women and children, the rural poor, health care access, and the care of the uninsured and underinsured. Dr. Waits is a practicing, boardcertified Family Medicine/Obstetrician and leader in the field of innovative rural health care. He currently serves as co-founder and CEO of Cahaba Medical Care Foundation. Waits also created Alabama’s only rural Teaching Health Center, which has a dually accredited family residency program within CMC.

Lail said, “Dr. Waits and his practice serve as a model for other physicians throughout the state who may be considering whether to locate in a rural area. He and his loyal, equally dedicated team are motivated by the idea of investing in communities, working and partnering with others to try to make people healthier and places better.”

Dr. Waits and the care CMC provides extend beyond the walls of their practice locations. CMC is very active in community service, giving weekend backpack meals to children in three Bibb County schools, with plans to expand the program into Jefferson County. CMC also provides support to a local food bank and clothes closet for all those in need, patient or not. Another notable area of his reach is the expansion into mental health and nutrition, offering counselors and dietitians to community members in need.

For information about rural health in Alabama, call ADPH 800-255-1992 or visit alabamapublichealth.gov/ruralhealth/index.html.