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Mercer University (School of Medicine)

The purpose of the School of Medicine of Mercer University is to provide an education for future physicians who will meet the health care needs of Georgia. The School currently has an enrollment of 314 with 278 faculty members, led by Dr. Martin Dalton, dean. The School offers the following degrees: Doctor of Medicine, Master of Family Services, Master of Family Therapy and Master of Public Health.

The mission of the Mercer University School of Medicine is to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. The principal need is for physician specialists in the primary care areas of Family Practice, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics. Obstetrics and Gynecology, General Surgery, Psychiatry, and Emergency Medicine are also recognized as career choices consistent with the mission. Other specialty practice areas may be added if warranted by the medical needs of Georgia.

The physical hub of a large portion of the Medical School activities is the Medical Education Building on the Mercer University campus in Macon. The two story building hosts three major types of activity: learning, service, and research. The first floor has four functional components: The Medical Library, Auditorium, and the Administrative Offices. On the second floor are the tutorial rooms, faculty offices, the Biomedical Communications Center, the Learning Resources Center, and the research laboratories.

In addition to the facilities available at the Medical School, the Medical Center of Central Georgia with its Family Health Center and the Memorial Health University Medical Center, Mercer University has affiliations with the Floyd Medical Center in Rome, the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, the Atlanta Medical Center in Atlanta, and the Medical Center in Columbus for family practice clerkships and with other hospitals to provide additional training to the students in psychiatry and senior electives clerkships. Also, contracts with private physicians in the Macon area and in rural communities provide opportunities for additional training in primary care practice and community medicine.

The Medical Library offers a variety of print and non-print materials which support the problem-based curriculum, faculty research and development, and community health interests. The collection contains over 90,000 volumes, 2,500 audiovisuals, and 11,000 government documents. The Library receives 850 current journal subscriptions and has access to all the major indexing and abstracting services. Specialized microfiche collections contain resources in the field of health care delivery and aging. Also, health education materials are acquired and organized for use by the general public and by professionals providing patient education. Access to these resources is through the online catalog of library collections. The online catalog also provides access to materials located in the Peyton T. Anderson Learning Resource Center.

A full range of reference services is provided by the Library Staff. Resources sessions on manual and computer searching skills and on use of the biomedical literature are provided regularly. The Library is capable of searching more than 300 computer databases including the MEDLARS databases and Galileo, the State of Georgia's electronic library service. Electronic-based interlibrary loan services connect the Medical School Library users with other biomedical library loan collections throughout the Southeast and the nation. Current journal shelves, a well-monitored reserve collection, and study rooms and carrels make the Library attractive for individual and group study.

The Library serves as the center of the Georgia Interactive Network for Medical Information. Better known as GaIN, the network is computer-based and offers the student access to the online catalog, health-related databases, full-text books and journals,, and electronic mail. GaIN also links other Georgia health institutions and professionals with the information resources at the Medical School. Computers are available in the library, the Learning Resources Center, the student tutorial area, and at the Medical School's remote educational sites throughout the state. Faculty and students with personal computers can also access GaIN from their offices and homes.

The Learning Resource Center (LRC) houses self-instructional learning units in the basic, behavioral and clinical sciences that are used to support curricular activities and to develop physical examination and interviewing skills. The LRC provides a health science model gallery, computers and interactive software, examination rooms used in the clinical skills program, meeting rooms and a multi-disciplinary wet lab. In addition to an extensive anatomical model collection, x-rays, plastinated and wet gross specimens are available in the LRC.

Substantial research facilities and financial support are the infrastructure for active bench research at MUSM. Most of the basic sciences faculty conduct collaborative, interdisciplinary research that is funded by both national and local agencies. Clinical faculty and medical students are regularly involved. MUSM does not offer graduate studies for the Ph.D. or M.S. degrees. However, postdoctoral opportunities are occasionally available.

The Auditorium is an educational facility designed to accommodate seminars, symposia and workshops sponsored by the School of Medicine. Three smaller meeting rooms, nearby, complement the auditorium and serve as the primary teaching site for students in masters programs for family therapy, family services and public health.

Mercer medical students learn and practice medicine in a variety of health care facilities including a number of regional community hospitals and clinics throughout the state. The Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon and the Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah serve as the primary teaching hospitals for junior and senior students taking required rotations. The former is the second largest community hospital in Georgia, it presently serves over 50 middle Georgia counties. The latter is a 530 bed regional center for approximately 450,000 people in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. Each offers a full range of general hospital services, as well as various specialized clinics, and serves as a referral center for its region. Both have demonstrated a strong history of commitment to medical education through their graduate education programs in several medical specialties.

The curriculum has been organized and designed to support the mission of training physicians to meet the health care needs of rural and other underserved areas of Georgia by insuring a superior medical education, by developing independent, life-long learning skills and by continual practice in the application of medical knowledge to patient problems.

For the Doctor of Medicine degree, the curriculum in the first two years is problem-based and clinically oriented. Students study the basic sciences in an interdisciplinary fashion in small groups. Also during the first two years, students begin learning clinical skills while working with simulated and real patients.
The final two years of the curriculum are largely spent in clinical clerkships in affiliated hospitals. These clerkships include internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and psychiatry. During all four years, students participate in primary care preceptorships in communities throughout Georgia.

There are opportunities for students to participate on various faculty committees. When a student opening arises, the chairperson of that committee contacts the students, who in turn chooses a representative. The membership of the committees changes each summer and thus the nominations of representatives are usually requested at the beginning of each academic year.

Each student enrolled at Mercer University School of Medicine is a member of the Student Government Association. Each class elects a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Student committees are formed to deal with areas of concern whenever the need arises.

The Student Affairs Committee is a committee consisting of all class officers. This group meets periodically with members of the Dean’s office to discuss student issues of concern. Class officers provide updates on class activities and administrators provide updates on institutional issues.

School name:Mercer UniversitySchool of Medicine
Address:1550 College St
Zip & city:GA 31207-0001 Georgia

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The curriculum in the first two years is designed to facilitate the students' acquisition of fundamental knowledge and skills as well as to develop behaviors appropriate to the practice of community responsive medicine. The education programs include the Biomedical Problem Program, Biomedical Ethics Program, the Clinical Skills Program, Community Office Practice Program, the Epidemiology course, the Biostatitics course, the Evidence Based Medicine/Research Design Course, the Grassman Seminar Series and the Community Science Program.


* Biomedical Problems Program : In this program the basic medical sciences are learned through the study of clinical problems. This occurs in small group tutorial sessions. Groups of seven to eight students meet three half-days per week with a tutor from the faculties of the basic or clinical sciences. The tutors are responsible for maintaining positive group dynamics and keeping the discussion relevant and at an appropriate depth. During the tutorials, the students define and discuss the basic and clinical science issues fundamental to the case under consideration. Outside the tutorials, the students study independently and/or in small groups, utilizing appropriate resources from the Library, the Learning Resources Center, and the faculty.
The student-oriented approach to the study of medicine is interdisciplinary and the array of biomedical problems is chosen very carefully to insure that students are challenged to master the basic science concepts requisite to medical practice. Each unit of the program is accompanied by a Study Guide and a list of learning objectives for the unit. These objectives and the suggested references provide a guide for student learning. The first two years of this program are divided into units the basic theme for which is the molecular, cellular and organ bases for health and disease. First-year units and their lengths in weeks are: cells & metabolism (6), genetics & development ( 6), host defense (6), hematology (4), neurology (7), brain & behavior (5), and musculoskeletal (6). For the second year the units are: cardiology (6), pulmonology (6), gastrointestinal (6), renal (5), endocrinology & biology of reproduction (7), and infectious disease (4).

* Biomedical Ethics Program : In this program medical students begin thinking about bioethical issues in their future practices as well as discussing the importance of ethics and professionalism to the social science of medicine. During the fall of the first year, each new medical student participates in group biomedical ethics discussion sessions. These sessions introduce students to ethical theory, issues in biomedical ethics, and the relationship of bioethics to clinical practice. Using a combination of required readings & writings, personal experiences, and case analysis, students discuss and analyze ethical issues which commonly arise in the practice of medicine.

* Clinical Skills Program : In this program students learn the basic skills necessary for interaction with patients. These skills include interview/medical history and physical examination techniques. Students interview and examine actual and "standardized" patients. The latter group is comprised of persons who have been trained to portray specific medical problems and behavioral roles, and to give constructive feedback to the students. Students often videotape their encounters with the standardized patients for self-evaluation and improvement.

* Community Office Practice Program (COPP) : The COPP Curriculum provides medical students with the opportunity to practice their clinical skills and observe experienced practicing physicians as they provide care in their office practices. The clinical aspects of a community-oriented, primary care practice are emphasized.

* The Grassman Seminar Series : Students attend a series of seminars held throughout year one. The seminars feature local, state, and national speakers on topics pertaining to public health, community medicine, community health needs, and current topics in population based medicine.

* Epidemiology : The epidemiology course is delivered during year one in the small group learning format. Groups of students and tutors discuss and learn about the science of population based medicine with an emphasis on the unique problems and needs of Georgia. Disease prevention and health care systems are also emphasized in this course.

* Evidence Based Medicine : This course is designed to teach students to critically evaluate the scientific and medical literature in the context of determining the best care for patients and populations. Students learn to apply their knowledge of statistics and research methodology to interpretation of scientific research.

* Biostatistics : The biostatistics course is delivered primarily through a series of web-based learning modules during year 2. Students complete the learning modules at their own pace and convenience within a specified time frame. Faculty with expertise in biostatistical methods are available to answer questions and provide further instruction.

* Community Science Program : This population-based program is designed to familiarize students with community medicine in a primary care medical practice in rural Georgia. In addition to exposure to clinical practice and patient care in rural Georgia, students complete assignments in the disciplines of disease prevention, health promotion, basic epidemiology, clinical biostatistics, research design evidence-based medicine and business aspects of practice. The program is longitudinal with components in years 1,2, and 4.
Approximately 6 weeks of time is protected at the end of year two to allow students to prepare for and take the USMLE Step 1 examination.


Year three covers a 48 week period in which students are involved in direct patient care activities on primary care at the affiliated hospitals and clinics. The clerkships include a blend of ambulatory and hospital-based patient care to provide the students with a comprehensive clinical experience reflective of that which they ultimately will encounter in practice. The clerkships include Internal Medicine (12 weeks), Surgery (8 weeks), Psychiatry (6 weeks), Pediatrics (8 weeks), Family Medicine (8 weeks), and Obstetrics and Gynecology (6 weeks). Concurrently, there are ongoing seminars in radiology, information technology, and ethics. While rotating on the services, the students function as part of a health care team and learn patient care directly from attending physicians and resident physicians. Didactic sessions, workshops, and encounters with simulated patients are included in the educational activities of the clerkships. Students remain “on call” with their team for a few of the nights and weekends while rotating on each clerkship.
Students choose between two main clinical campuses – the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, or the Memorial Health and University Medicial Center in Savannah, for the majority of their year three and year four experiences. Students may also elect to take the Family Medicine clerkship at the affiliated residency programs in Albany, Columbus, Morrow, and Rome.


The final year includes courses in emergency medicine (4 weeks), a selection of courses in acute/critical care, surgical subspecialties, and substance abuse (12 weeks total), the final community science course (4 weeks), and electives (20 weeks). A number of electives are available within the MUSM system on the affiliated clinical campuses, or students may take electives at other accredited teaching institutions with approval of both MUSM and the host institution. Approximately 4 – 5 weeks of unscheduled time is available for residency interviews and vacation. Up to two weeks of elective time may be taken to preparation for and take USMLE Step2.

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