Mayor Mickey Haddock announced his plan to begin discussing with the Florence City Council the opportunity to bring to Florence a first of its kind health and research program, the University of North Alabama (UNA) Center for Integrative Health in a Jan. 4, 2013, press release.
The center would be built on the former Florence Golf and Country Club property through a partnership announced a year ago between UNA and Shenqi Ethnic Medicine College (SEMC) in Guiyang City, China.The city recently received a $2.1 million offer on the property from Zhang Zhiting, chair of Guizhou Shenqi Group, which created SEMC. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education, in September, approved the concentration to be offered this fall.
Enrolling students from both UNA and Shenqi, the Center for Integrative Health would train clinical practitioners and leaders in a holistic mental, physical and spiritual approach to health and well being. Zhang and Dr. William G. Cale Jr., UNA president, signed a memorandum of agreement for the center in January 2012.
“Chairman Zhang sees in this venture a world-class learning center that will form the nucleus for adding botanical gardens, a visitor center, clinical outreach and continuing education,” Cale said. “The natural beauty of the city of Florence, warmth of the regional community, support of local and state leaders and the commitment of UNA combine to create a foundation from which an exciting future will emerge.”
The center will receive its first cohort group from SEMC in fall 2014, enrolling a total of 50 to100 students. The program will ultimately enroll more than 500.