College of Health Professions Receives $1.1 Million Grant to Train Physician Assistants for Georgia’s Medically Underserved Communities


ATLANTA – The Department of Physician Assistant Studies in Mercer University’s College of Health Professions has been awarded a $1.1 million grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The grant, which will provide a total of $1,126,390 over a five-year period, was offered through HRSA’s Primary Care Training and Enhancement (PCTE) Program. The PCTE Program aims to address the nation’s public health workforce shortage by preparing primary care practitioners to provide community-based and preventive care to medically underserved communities.

Dr. Sheena D. Brown, clinical assistant professor, will serve as the principal investigator and project director for the grant, which involves collaboration with Mercer’s Department of Public Health.

“I applaud the Department of Physician Assistant Studies partnering with the Department of Public Health in this collaborative effort to train students to improve the health of the nation with a focus on prevention, health service delivery, health promotion and societal determinants of health,” said Dr. Lisa Lundquist, interim dean of the College of Health Professions and clinical professor.

Student trainees in Mercer’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies will receive curriculum and clinical training specifically focused on providing evidence-based medical care to Georgia’s rural and underserved communities.

Traineeship awards will provide financial support to eligible students with strong academic records who demonstrate an interest in community-based health promotion and primary care practice. Student clinical experiences in the program include providing care for minority, disadvantaged, underserved and rural populations.

“We are incredibly excited to receive grant funds to provide physician assistant students with public health training and help prepare our graduates to provide comprehensive care to Georgia’s rural and underserved communities,” said Dr. Brown.

“Securing funding will allow the program to provide trainees with public health training; further intensify efforts to recruit underrepresented minorities, persons from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds, and veterans; and prepare providers to deliver comprehensive care in underserved areas.”

HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care by strengthening the healthcare workforce, building healthy communities and achieving health equity. HRSA’s programs provide health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable.

About the College of Health Professions

Mercer University’s College of Health Professions is composed of three departments: physical therapy, physician assistant studies and public health. The College offers a doctoral-level physical therapy program, master’s-level physician assistant program and bachelor’s- and master’s-level public health programs. The Department of Physical Therapy offers an orthopaedic manual physical therapy residency program and a neurological physical therapy residency program. The Department of Physician Assistant Studies offers an advanced cardiology residency program. Each program is housed in a department that provides students with comprehensive didactic courses taught by an extraordinary faculty and extensive clinical experience enhanced by outstanding service-learning opportunities. For more information, visit