A collaboration between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Macon, Ga.-based Mercer University School of Medicine aims to improve pediatric healthcare in rural Georgia.
The initiative is being supported by a $200 million fund the Children’s Healthcare board allocated in 2022, according to a Feb. 22 news release from Mercer.
Among the priorities of the initiative is to increase access to pediatricians in rural counties, according to the release. Children’s Healthcare is funding 10 full-tuition scholarships in 2023 through a program with Mercer for medical students specializing in pediatrics who commit to serving in rural Georgia for at least four years after residency.
Funds will also be used on pilots and projects, according to the release. Proposed programs include:
- Assisting rural hospitals better prepare and treat pediatric patients in emergency departments.
- Providing training and resources to physicians focused on challenges regularly faced in rural practices. Mercer identified a need for specialty consult services via telehealth for rural patients and a network of pediatricians focused on rural pediatric health.
- Mercer and Children’s will work with schools, pediatricians and hospitals to develop a comprehensive approach to pediatric mental health in two communities with virtual mental health services and a focus on suicide awareness and prevention.