SAVANNAH – Dr. Jean R. Sumner, dean of Mercer University School of Medicine, recently appointed Dr. J. David Baxter, associate professor of internal medicine, as senior associate dean for academic affairs.
Dr. Baxter’s parents met at Mercer in the 1950s, and he was born in North Carolina, where his father was attending seminary, before the family moved to Mableton. Dr. Baxter attended Pebblebrook High School, where he was valedictorian of his graduating class, and went on to Georgia State University in Atlanta, where he majored in biology and graduated magna cum laude. He then attended the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, where he earned his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1984 and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society.
Dr. Baxter completed his residency in internal medicine at Georgia Baptist Medical Center in Atlanta, where he also completed a fourth-year chief residency. Upon completion of his residency, he joined the teaching faculty of Georgia Baptist, and was soon named associate program director of the internal medicine residency program. After several years of teaching and practicing at Georgia Baptist, he spent a number of years in private practice in Mableton and Austell.
Dr. Baxter returned to teaching in 2008 as an internal medicine residency faculty member at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. He served as associate program director of the internal medicine residency before transitioning to medical student clerkship director for Mercer University School of Medicine’s Savannah campus. Dr. Baxter became MUSM’S school-wide Year-3 program director in 2012 and continues in that role today.
Dr. Baxter, whose teaching and publication interests are primarily in ethics and professionalism, has received numerous teaching awards, including the Gold Humanism Society Award and Attending of the Year, both at Georgia Baptist and Memorial.
Dr. Baxter and his wife, Ann Baxter, a Georgia native, have been married for 37 years and are the proud parents of three adult children. Dr. Baxter is active in his church where he serves as an elder, in his community, and at the national level on the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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: Medical Center, Navicent Health 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.