MACON – Mercer University School of Medicine Master of Family Therapy (MFT) student Aleeah Muhammad was recently selected for 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).

Muhammad was selected for the program in 2021 as a first-year MFT student and will continue to be part of the program in her second year.

Muhammad, who grew up near Atlanta, earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Fort Valley State University before joining Mercer’s MFT program on the Macon campus.

She is dedicated to expanding the delivery of mental health services to underserved populations, and her career goal is to open a private practice and community center to provide underserved populations the resources they need to live a fulfilling life.

Muhammad chose Mercer because it supports her vision as an aspiring marriage and family therapist.

“I wanted to find a program in Georgia that invested itself in rebuilding the family system and considering cultural factors to better serve minority, underserved and impoverished populations,” said Muhammad. “Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Mercer’s MFT program is the best place for me.”

“Since starting in the MFT program, Aleeah has demonstrated a strong commitment toward serving underserved populations,” added Andrea Meyer-Stinson, Ph.D., LMFT, associate professor in the MFT program and Muhammad’s adviser. “Aleeah is a testament to the mission of the MFT program and the School of Medicine at Mercer University.”

The Minority Fellowship Program for doctoral-level students was created in 2007 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 health care continuum; and improve client outcomes. SAMHSA began to fund the program in 2008.

In 2014, 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.

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 additional four-year M.D. campuses in Savannah in 2008 and in Columbus in 2021. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School’s primary teaching hospitals: Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center and Piedmont Macon Medical Center in Macon; Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master’s degrees in preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. in rural health sciences in Macon and a master’s degree in family therapy in Macon and Atlanta.

Featured photo by John Knight