Mercer to Host Fall Community Health Fair in Downtown Plains

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Downtown Plains

PLAINS – Mercer University will host a fall community health fair Nov. 2, 9 a.m.-noon, at the Plains Community Center located at 106 E. Main St. in downtown Plains.

The fair, co-sponsored by Mercer Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) and Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center, will offer free health screenings and education for all ages, including information on heart health, breast self-exams, blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring and much more.

The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand to provide a take back station for proper disposal of expired or unwanted medication.

Additionally, Horizons Community Solutions, Mercer’s Physician Assistant Program, Navicent Health, Peach State Health Plan and Phoebe Sumter Medical Center will be among around 15 vendors in attendance to provide screenings, education and support to the local community.

“Mercer University School of Medicine is honored to be part of the Plains community and is delighted to partner with our colleagues to offer services to the good citizens of this area and to rural Georgia,” said Jean Sumner, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. “Our mission is to educate physicians for rural and underserved areas of Georgia. It is who we are.”

Mercer Medicine Plains opened at 107 Main St. in July 2018 after former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a Life Trustee at Mercer, asked the University to explore options for providing local health care following the closing of the Plains Medical Center.

The clinic, refurbished by Mercer using local contractors, has a total of four exam rooms, on-site X-ray and additional services. Michael Raines, M.D., provides family care, along with nurse practitioner Betty Jo Songer, FNP, three clinical staff, a radiologist and a medical receptionist.

Mercer Medicine, the primary care practice and division of the faculty practice of MUSM, provides access to cardiologists, pulmonologists, endocrinologists and other specialists located in its downtown Macon offices through telemedicine technology supported by the Georgia Partnership for Telehealth.

In keeping with its mission to meet the primary care and healthcare needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia, MUSM established the Plains clinic as a pilot for future rural primary care clinics.

The School recently opened a second clinic in Peach County and plans to open a third in Clay County in early 2020.

About 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 and a Ph.D. in rural health sciences.

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Kyle Sears