School of Medicine Announces Latest Class of Primary Care Accelerated Track Scholars

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Primary Care ACT Scholar Yoonhee Kim

MACON/SAVANNAH – Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) recently announced its latest class of Primary Care Accelerated Track (ACT) Scholars.

The Primary Care ACT Program allows students interested in a career in family medicine, general internal medicine or pediatrics to have the opportunity to complete their medical school coursework in an accelerated three-year program of study.

Scholarships are awarded to highly-qualified medical students upon the completion of their first year of medical school and cover tuition for the second and third years. These students must be in good academic standing and have a strong desire to practice primary care in a rural area.

Upon completion of residency, Scholars are required to participate in three years of continuous, full-time, primary care medical practice in a rural area of Georgia. The practice must also accept Medicaid patients.

“This is an outstanding program that enables qualified students to accelerate their education, decrease their debt and enter the workforce sooner without sacrificing quality,” said Jean R. Sumner, M.D., dean of MUSM. “This program wouldn’t be possible without the strong support and leadership of Georgia’s state legislature and governor.”

This year’s class of Primary Care ACT Scholars includes:

Macon Campus:

  • Kara Kelsey, from McIntyre, specializing in family medicine
  • Yoonhee Kim, from Watkinsville, specializing in family medicine
  • Weston Cody King, from Albany, specializing in internal medicine
  • Kyle Posey, from Ocilla, specializing in family medicine
  • Nelliena Young, from Albany, specializing in pediatrics

Savannah Campus:

  • Caitlin Balno, from Savannah, specializing in family medicine
  • Jana Byrd, from Dawsonville, specializing in internal medicine
  • Austin Browning, from Adrian, specializing in internal medicine
  • Alyssa Fernando, from Baxley, specializing in internal medicine
  • Evan Graham, from Decatur, specializing in family medicine
  • Savannah Grunhard, from Covington, specializing in internal medicine
  • Kristen Prather Stovall, from Augusta, specializing in family medicine
  • Sydney Voorhees, from Dahlonega, specializing in pediatrics

The Primary Care ACT Program builds upon the strengths of MUSM’s problem-based curriculum with clinical experiences and community medicine activities built into the preclinical years and reinforced through continued longitudinal clinical experiences at the ACT site, clerkships, sub-internships and elective experiences.

Mercer’s primary care accelerated curriculum track was one of the first programs of its kind in the United States. The innovative curriculum compresses the educational objectives of the four-year M.D. program into 130 weeks of instructional time that culminates in a medical degree and prepares students for early entry into a traditional primary care residency.

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, a majority of graduates practice in the state of Georgia, and Mercer leads the nation in those who are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas. 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 Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital 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