School of Medicine Dean Dr. Jean Sumner Receives Ralph O. Claypoole Sr. Memorial Award from American College of Physicians

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Dr. Jean Sumner

MACON/SAVANNAH/COLUMBUS – Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) Dean Jean R. Sumner, M.D., FACP, recently received the Ralph O. Claypoole Sr. Memorial Award from the American College of Physicians (ACP), a national organization of internists and the largest medical specialty organization in the U.S.

Dr. Sumner is the first Georgian to receive the prestigious award, established by ACP’s Board of Regents in 1979.

The Ralph O. Claypoole Sr. Memorial Award is presented annually to an outstanding practitioner of internal medicine who has devoted her or his career to the care of patients. The practitioner must be a clinician who is highly respected by her or his peers and colleagues for clinical skills and who has been a role model.

“I am humbled to receive the Ralph O. Claypoole Sr. Memorial Award from the American College of Physicians,” said Dr. Sumner. “Patient-focused care is the foundation of quality medicine. I am grateful and honored to be recognized in this area.”

Dr. Sumner has a passion for underserved areas and has served in rural Georgia most of her career, practicing as an internist in Washington and Johnson counties before becoming dean of Mercer’s School of Medicine in 2016.

A member of MUSM’s first graduating class in 1986, she became a community faculty preceptor for the School of Medicine upon completing her internal medicine residency at The Medical Center, Navicent Health, in Macon in 1989.

Dr. Sumner has served as hospital chief of staff and nursing home medical director, as well as a board member, chair and president of numerous community and statewide professional organizations. At the state level, she served most recently as a governor-appointed member, then president and medical director of the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

She is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, an honor bestowed upon her by her peers for personal integrity, superior competence in internal medicine, professional accomplishment and demonstrated scholarship.

“Jean Sumner is a worthy recipient of the Ralph O. Claypoole Sr. Memorial Award,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “She has devoted her life to patient care in rural areas of Georgia, and since 2016 has led our School of Medicine to carry out its impactful mission to prepare physicians to practice primary care medicine in rural and underserved areas of our state. She models that mission for our students every single day. We are very proud to have Jean Sumner leading the Mercer University School of Medicine.”

About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 159,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness.

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 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