Second-year MFT Student Emma Patterson Selected for AAMFT Minority Fellowship Program

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Emma Patterson

MACON – Mercer University School of Medicine second-year Master of Family Therapy (MFT) student Emma Patterson was recently accepted to the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP-Y) offered by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

In 2007, the MFP for doctoral-level students was created at the AAMFT Research and Education Foundation, whose mission is to fund systemic and relational research, scholarship and education in an effort to support and enhance the practice of systemic and relational therapies; advance the healthcare continuum; and improve client outcomes. SAMHSA began to fund the program in 2008.

In 2014, under former President Barack Obama’s Now Is The Time Initiative, SAMHSA expanded the Minority Fellowship Program to include the MFP-Youth for master’s-level students.

The MFP-Y program aims to increase the number of culturally competent master’s-level trained behavioral health professionals available to serve children, adolescents and youth transitioning into adulthood ages 16-25.

Fellows receive a stipend and supplemental training focusing on issues of substance abuse and prevention as well as providing mental health services to minority youth populations in a culturally competent manner with an evidence-based practice approach.

Patterson earned her undergraduate degree from Mercer’s Tift College of Education, majoring in early childhood education.

She has worked with numerous children and families experiencing autism spectrum disorder through the Marcus Autism Center, schools and a local church. Currently, she is completing a yearlong internship in family therapy at the Autism and Developmental Center at Navicent Health.

“Emma grew up in a rural town in Oklahoma and also worked in several disadvantaged schools in Georgia. As a result, she noticed an immense gap of services for children and families on the autism spectrum within minority populations. Her goal is to target these specific populations to reduce disparities in assessment and diagnosis and improve access to quality treatment, particularly for rural and underserved communities in Middle Georgia,” said Dr. Andrea S. Meyer Stinson, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and associate program director of Mercer’s MFT program in Macon. “Emma is an exceptional student, and we are proud that she is representing our program and the mission of the medical school by earning this prestigious award.”

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