HILTON HEAD, S.C. – Mercer University School of Medicine faculty member and alumna Dr. Linda I. Walden (MED '92) was installed as the new president of the Georgia State Medical Association (GSMA) at the organization's 121st Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly on June 12 at the Omni Oceanfront Resort.
Dr. Walden, a family physician, is medical director of Cairo Family Medical Center Inc. in Cairo, Georgia. She has been a member of the GSMA for more than 20 years, and will serve a two-year term as its president.
“Dr. Linda Walden is a prime example of a community responsive physician. She represents both the spirit and intent of the Mercer University School of Medicine’s work to educate physicians to meet the needs of rural and underserved Georgia citizens,” said Dean William F. Bina III.
In addition to serving as a faculty member in the Department of Community Medicine, Dr. Walden was appointed by Dean Bina to serve on the School of Medicine Admissions Committee.
"We must recommit and strengthen our voice by increasing our membership, for there is power in numbers," said Dr. Walden in her address to the assembly. "When we weaken the voice of GSMA, we weaken the voice of our community."
Of the 35,000 physicians in Georgia, Dr. Walden said only about 1,200 are African Americans, so fostering an interest in medical studies among youth is important. Dr. Walden mentors her pediatric patients and rewards their academic successes with job shadowing opportunities in her office.
"The greatest success in life is not about how much we acquire, but our greatest success is our service to God. God uses each of us to make a difference in the world, and that is my mission in life," added Dr. Walden.
The GSMA, founded in 1893, is the second-largest African American state medical association in the United States, and is the state affiliate of the National Medical Association (NMA).
Members of the GSMA serve on the faculties of all medical schools in the state – Emory University School of Medicine, the Medical College of Georgia, Mercer and Morehouse School of Medicine. The administration office of the association is located on the Morehouse campus in Atlanta. The association meets quarterly in different location throughout the state, and holds its annual convention each June.
About the Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, Savannah and Columbus):
Mercer University's School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. Today, more than 60 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer medical students benefit from a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. The School opened a full four-year campus in Savannah in 2008 at Memorial University Medical Center. In 2012, the School began offering clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School's primary teaching hospitals: The Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon; Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master's degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. in clinical medical psychology.