School of Medicine Encourages Georgia 4-H’ers to ‘Set Sights on Medical School’


MACON – Mercer University School of Medicine and Georgia 4-H recently joined forces to offer a unique experience for 4-H'ers interested in a career in the medical field. 

“Setting Your Sights on Medical School” is one of several initiatives being developed through a new partnership between the School of Medicine and Georgia 4-H. The event, for ninth- through 12th-graders, is intended to inspire and enable youth from rural Georgia to pursue healthcare careers.

Twenty-four Georgia 4-H'ers from across South Georgia attended the pilot event. They participated in interactive stations to explore rural health needs and medical school resources. They also spent time with medical school faculty, staff and students and learned about basic requirements to apply to medical school. 

The event was coordinated Jean Sumner, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, and Laura Bland, director of community outreach and population health, as well as Lee Anna Deal, Southeast District 4-H program development coordinator, Brandi McGonagill, Bleckley County 4-H agent, and Abby Smith, Effingham County 4-H agent.

“Mercer University School of Medicine is honored to partner with Georgia 4-H,” said Dr. Sumner. “4-H is an outstanding service-based leadership organization that offers life-changing opportunities to young Georgians. Mercer is committed to its mission to improve access to health care in rural and underserved areas of this state by providing physicians to this state. Mercer University School of Medicine only admits Georgia residents. Together we can open doors to young people from across this state, and particularly from rural areas, who are interested in entering health professions and returning to rural Georgia to serve.”

“We are so excited that Mercer University School of Medicine reached out to Georgia 4-H in an effort to help young people from rural areas of Georgia make going to medical school a reality,” said Deal. “Our mission in Georgia 4-H is to offer opportunities like this for young people to acquire knowledge and develop skills to help them reach their goals. Hands-on learning experiences, like this event at Mercer, are just the type of programming 4-H'ers get excited about being a part of. We hope that we have impacted these young people in a positive way to help them reach their future goals.” 

About the 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 Midtown Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master's degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences.