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Former Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer donates $100,000 to HudsonAlpha Foundation

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology (Photo: Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County)

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology (Photo: Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Former Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer gifted $100,000 to the HudsonAlpha Foundation to support the Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine.

In honor of Spencer’s gift, the clinic’s triage room was named in her honor.

Spencer served as the mayor of Huntsville from 1996 to 2008 and is actively involved in many local nonprofit organizations, including HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. She was the mayor when HudsonAlpha broke ground in 2005.

The Smith Family Clinic for Genomic Medicine is the first clinic in the world to use whole genome sequencing exclusively to diagnose rare, undiagnosed and misdiagnosed disease.

“HudsonAlpha means so much to me because I developed Research Park West when I was the chair of the Huntsville Planning Commission in the 1980s,” said Spencer. “I got research companies to come here, but establishing HudsonAlpha was the crowning glory that put biomedical on the Research Park map.”

Spencer is excited that the Smith Family Clinic has added yet another unique dimension to Research Park.

“When she served as mayor, Loretta was really adamant about expanding the types of things going on in Huntsville,” said Rick Myers, president and science director of HudsonAlpha. “Loretta wanted to broaden the economic base of Huntsville by making it more diverse, and that’s what we’re trying to do with life sciences here at HudsonAlpha. We wouldn’t be where we are today without Loretta’s vision and support.”

Spencer chose the triage room because of her experiences with Huntsville’s ambulance service, HEMSI. “When I was mayor I wanted to see how everything worked, so I would sometimes ride with HEMSI on Friday nights,” said Spencer. “I learned then that triage is so very important. I’m honored to have my name on this room.”

The triage room at the Smith Family Clinic is a spacious room designed to comfortably accommodate patients and family members on their first visit to the clinic. The room includes wheelchair accessible scales, electronic height measurement devices, an infant examination table and an infant scale.

“The way this gift will touch so many lives and positively impact so many children is something most people don’t really understand,” said Howard Jacob, executive vice president for genomic medicine at HudsonAlpha. “I want to thank Loretta on behalf of our patients and to thank her for making Huntsville a better place to live.”