School of Medicine Savannah Campus to Host Forum on ‘Human Trafficking: What is the Role of the Physician?’

A sign reading Mercer School of Medicine is shown in front of a large white building with green-hued windows. Cars can be seen in the parking lot.
Mercer School of Medicine campus in Savannah. Mercer University photo

SAVANNAH – The Savannah campus of Mercer University School of Medicine, along with Women in Medicine, will hold a forum, titled “Human Trafficking: What is the Role of the Physician?,” April 20, 5:15-7:30 p.m., featuring State Attorney General Sam Olens and others.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the William and Iffath Hoskins Center for Biomedical Research, located at 1250 East 66th St.

Women in Medicine is a national group dedicated to advancing females in the medical profession by providing leadership, advocacy education, expertise and mentoring.

Special guest speakers for the forum will include Olens, pediatrician Dr. Donna Evans and first-year medical student Zachary McGalliard. The discussion will focus on public health policy and clinical and political advocacy topics surrounding human trafficking in Georgia and beyond.

Olens was sworn in as the State of Georgia's 53rd attorney general on Jan. 10, 2011. That same year, he worked with legislators to strengthen the penalties for sex trafficking, making Georgia's law one of the toughest in the nation. He is currently chair of the Southern Region of the National Association of Attorneys General and has received numerous awards and honors for his work. Olens is a 1983 graduate of the Emory University School of Law.

Evans is a pediatrician at Memorial University Medical Center, assistant professor of pediatrics at Mercer School of Medicine and a faculty pediatrician for the Pediatric Residency Program. She served her pediatric residency at the Medical University of South Carolina and is board certified in pediatrics and child abuse pediatrics. She is also the medical director of the child protection team for the Willette Children's Hospital.

McGalliard earned his Master of Public Health with an epidemiology concentration at Georgia Southern University in 2014. He is a current medical student at Mercer School of Medicine and plans to specialize in family medicine. He has been involved with the issue of human trafficking throughout his undergraduate and graduate career at Georgia Southern, where he founded the university's first anti-trafficking student organization.

In addition to the discussion, the forum will include a raffle to benefit Savannah Working Against Human Trafficking (SWAHT), a local organization dedicated to calling attention to the issue of human trafficking in the Savannah community and its environs in hopes of eradicating this crime through discussion and strategy.

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 The Medical Center 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. and Psy.D. in clinical medical psychology.