School of Medicine to Partner with Georgia Department of Public Health on Key Women’s Health Issues

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Dr. Jennifer Barkin

Dr. Jennifer L. Barkin Appointed Academic Liaison 

MACON – Dr. Jean Sumner, dean of Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM), recently announced the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Barkin, associate professor of community medicine and obstetrics and gynecology, as academic liaison to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), North Central Health District.

This appointment is the result of a newly formed partnership between MUSM and DPH and is in step with the current trend of strengthening the healthcare system through the initiation of academic health departments (AHDs).

Dr. Barkin obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in statistics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She completed both her master’s degree in biostatistics and her Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health. Her postdoctoral training took place at the prestigious Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and was focused on women’s mental health during childbearing years.

Dr. Barkin is a thought leader in her field and the developer of the Barkin Index of Maternal Functioning (BIMF), a 20-item self-report measure of maternal functioning in the postpartum period. The instrument has been translated into more than 20 languages and is being used in industry-sponsored trials and clinical, academic and community-based settings.

Dr. Barkin has published extensively in her field and serves as a peer reviewer for several prestigious journals, including the Journal of Women’s Health, Archives of Women’s Mental Health, and Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. She has participated on national advisory boards, various expert panels related to perinatal health, and was recently identified by SAGE Therapeutics as a “Key Opinion Leader in Women’s Mental Health for the State of Georgia.”

The MUSM-DPH partnership will be heavily focused on women’s health and tracking outcomes for related services.

“The Department of Public Health has seven or more programs that are focused on women’s health and maternal child health,” said Dr. Sumner. “Given her research focus and training, I immediately thought of Dr. Barkin for the role of academic liaison. I see real potential for her to apply her skills as a public health practitioner to help Georgia families in this setting.”

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.

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Kyle Sears