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


MACON – Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) faculty member Dr. Jacob C. Warren was named Outstanding Researcher of the Year by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) at the association's Annual Rural Health Conference in Minneapolis in May. The conference is the largest gathering of rural health professionals in the nation.

This award is given each year following a nationally competitive process assessing the scope of the awardee's accomplishments, the significance of his or her work to rural health and the sophistication of his or her scholarly effort. The award recognizes the awardee's efforts to encourage, assist, enhance, expand and improve rural health.

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

Since joining MUSM in 2013, Dr. Warren, who serves as Rufus Harris Endowed Chair and director of the Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities (CRHHD), has published more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, delivered more than 30 professional presentations and published the text Rural Public Health

As director of CRHHD, he oversees a multi-million dollar portfolio of federal funding that supports the Center's efforts.

The largest of these initiatives is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center of Excellence grant (NIMHD Grant P20MD006901) that supports a comprehensive research, training and community engagement initiative working to eliminate rural health disparities throughout southeast Georgia. Through this effort, he has led the development and testing of a novel, telehealth-delivered diabetes and hypertension self-management intervention for patients receiving care at clinics for uninsured and socioeconomically disadvantaged rural populations.

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

“It is quite an honor to be named Outstanding Researcher of the Year by the National Rural Health Association,” said Dr. Warren. “I have been very fortunate to have the ability to focus my career on improving health in rural and underserved populations, and to see the work I have been doing here at Mercer in the Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities recognized in this way is truly humbling.”

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.

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 and a Ph.D. and Psy.D. in clinical medical psychology.