School of Medicine Professors Publish Innovative Text on Health Equity

Center for Rural Health

Health Equity book coverMACON – Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) professors Dr. Bryant Smalley and Dr. Jacob Warren recently published one of the first academic texts on health equity.

Their new text, Health Equity: A Solutions-Focused Approach, published by Springer Publishing, is the first of its kind in academic literature. The book combines coverage of the systemic issues impacting pursuit of health equity as a nation with specific coverage of the needs of a wide range of population groups. Rather than simply describing the existence of health disparities, the text focuses on how to develop innovative approaches of achieving health equity through evidence-based approaches, promising practices and a series of case studies.

“The factors driving health equity are numerous and wide-ranging,” said Dr. Smalley, associate dean for research. “As a result, solutions come from diverse fields such as public health, sociology, political science and psychology. We wanted to bring all of those fields together in a single text for students and practitioners alike.”

Health equity is the field of study focused on ensuring that all individuals have equal opportunity to achieve and maintain health. A number of groups across the United States – ranging from African American populations to rural populations – face stark disparities in a number of health outcomes. The field of health equity seeks not only to understand why these disparities exist, but also to develop ways to end them.

“It is time for action to achieve health equity for all populations,” said Dr. Warren, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion and the director of MUSM’s Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities, an National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence. “Our hope is that this book will help provide options and solutions for those engaged in this line of work.”

Dr. Smalley and Dr. Warren maintain an active line of health equity research focused on maternal and infant mortality, opioid overdose and chronic disease self-management, with nearly $7 million in active federal funding. They have worked extensively with communities to develop, implement and research the impact of health equity initiatives, including active work in 12 rural Georgia counties.

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 Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master’s degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. in rural health sciences.