Office of University Communications & Marketing

Florence Mayor, City Council to Discuss Sale of Property for UNA Integrative Health Center
Jan. 3, 2013



FLORENCE, Ala. – Mayor Mickey Haddock announced today 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 Center for Integrative Health. 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. City Council President Dick Jordan said the offer would be discussed at the council’s next meeting, scheduled for next Tuesday.

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 wellbeing. Zhang and Dr. William G. Cale Jr., UNA president, signed a memorandum of agreement for the center in January 2012. Zhang visited Florence the following July to begin scouting land for the center.

“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.”

“I am looking forward to acquiring the property once the City Council approves its sale,” Zhang said. “This property is perfect for Shenqi and UNA to develop their joint international Center for Integrative Health.”

Through the UNA-SEMC partnership, UNA will be responsible for the development, implementation and operation of the program, while SEMC is responsible for land purchase, construction of instructional and residential facilities and seed money for the hiring of faculty, staff and research assistants.

“This strategic partnership between UNA and SEMC will maximize the strength of both parties in developing cutting-edge integrative health programs and services that will be beneficial to all, especially those in the Shoals community,” said Dr. Chunsheng Zhang, UNA vice provost for international affairs.

The programs will include a concentration in integrative health as part of UNA’s already-existing Master of Science degree in health and human performance. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education, in September, approved the concentration to be offered this fall. UNA also plans to hire a director for the center by this fall. The center will receive its first cohort group from SEMC in fall 2014, enrolling a total of 50-100 students. The program will ultimately enroll more than 500.