BY JAMES HARPER
Bethune-Cookman University renamed its wellness center last week, expanding its focus and partnerships in the community.
The Odessa Chambliss Wellness Center is now known as the Odessa Chambliss Center for Health Equity, center director Diana Lee told the Daytona Times this week.
The renaming ceremony took place Feb. 7 at the center, which is located at 113 Lockhart St., off International Speedway Boulevard by the School of Nursing.
Lee said the concept for the center is a result of the vision of B-CU Interim President Edison Jackson.
“Jackson believes that an essential part of the B-CU experience is that students participate in health equity service learning to develop civic insight and the ability to effectively respond to social, environmental and economic challenges,” said Lee.
Center named after Shaq’s grandmother
Alma Dixon, associate provost of health equity, said the renaming “demonstrates the commitment to leverage university resources with the ultimate goal to seek opportunities for our fellow citizens to attain their full health potential.”
“It is envisioned that the center will continue to partner with agencies to address inequality in the incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality or survival rates of chronic illnesses in the citizens of the 32114 zip code,” Dixon said.
The center is named after the mother of Bethune-Cookman graduate Lucille O’Neal, the mom of retired NBA player Shaquille O’Neal. Mrs. O’Neal graduated magna cum laude with a major in business administration in May 2003.
Shaq attended the renaming ceremony.
Support from the O’Neal family was instrumental in the launch of the wellness center and the upgrading of the School of Nursing facilities.
Family fund helps nursing students
Mrs. O’Neal said her mother worked in the nursing profession for 16 years in the state of New Jersey.
“After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1993, Odessa continued to work for as long as she was physically able. It was early 1995 when Odessa’s health began to decline and she was unable to work,” said Mrs. O’Neal on her website.
“Our mother passed away peacefully on April 2, 1996 after fighting a serious battle with the deadly disease we call cancer,” continued Mrs. O’Neal.
In honour of her mother, Lucille O’Neal said she and her siblings set up a fund to provide grant supplementation for individuals pursuing a career in nursing and to assist those students who require incidentals such as medical supplies, laptop computers and necessities that are not accessible through basic tuitions.
Additionally, this fund will provide monetary scholarships for education and cancer research at institutions and facilities that identify an urgent need for assistance.