School of Medicine Faculty Member Dr. Bryant Smalley Named National Rural Health Association Outstanding Researcher of the Year

Smalley NRHA 2018

MACON – Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) faculty member Dr. K. Bryant Smalley was recently named Outstanding Researcher of the Year by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).

Dr. Smalley was honored May 10 in New Orleans at the organization’s Annual Rural Health Conference, which represents the largest gathering of rural health professionals in the nation.

“We’re extremely proud of this year’s winners,” said NRHA CEO Alan Morgan. “They have each made tremendous strides to advance rural health care, and we’re confident they will continue to help improve the lives of rural Americans.”

The Outstanding Researcher of the Year award is presented annually to a rural health researcher after a national selection process focused on the honoree’s dedication to solving rural health issues and the quality of the individual’s work. The award recognizes the honoree’s efforts to encourage, assist, enhance, expand and improve rural health.

Dr. Smalley is a licensed clinical psychologist who joined the MUSM faculty in 2017. He serves as associate dean for research and accreditation and professor of community medicine and psychiatry.

Throughout his career, he has received more than $6 million in federal rural health funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Federal Corporation for National and Community Service. This funding has supported widespread rural health research, training and community engagement activities throughout rural Georgia.

Dr. Smalley has published two rural health-focused books, more than 30 rural health-focused peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and delivered more than 100 presentations at professional conferences. Through this work, he has co-led the development and testing of a novel, telehealth-delivered diabetes and hypertension self-management program for patients receiving care at clinics for uninsured and socioeconomically disadvantaged rural populations.

He also jointly leads several community-focused research initiatives, including co-chairing efforts to increase access to health care for children in rural southern Georgia.

“It is an honor to be recognized as the Outstanding Researcher of the Year by the National Rural Health Association,” said Dr. Smalley. “I was born and raised in the small rural Georgia town of Toomsboro, and it has been my privilege to dedicate my career to helping rural communities become healthier places to live. I look forward to continuing this work and supporting the mission of the Mercer University School of Medicine for many years to come.”

NRHA is a nonprofit organization working to improve the health and well-being of rural Americans and providing leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research. NRHA membership is made up of 21,000 diverse individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health. For more information, visit

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.