Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center's Maternal Health Observership Provides Educational Opportunities for Rising Second-Year Med Students

By Joelie Lepp, Center Intern

Observership participants: Back Row – Mary Catherine Stamey, Meagan Andreasen, Hannah Cabe, Front Row – Anahit Mehranian, Megan Kral, Anchal Kumar, Hars Singh (Children's Summer Scholar)


An enthusiastic group of second-year medical students make up the 2023 cohort of the Maternal Health Observership Program at the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center (GRHIC). These scholars have dedicated their summer to developing a deeper understanding of maternal health, rural pediatric care, and how health disparities in these areas affect families living within Georgia. Students were selected to participate in this summer opportunity through applications from both Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) and Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta. This is the first summer that two students from Morehouse have participated in the program: Anahit Mehranian of Atlanta and Anchal Kumar of Suwannee. MUSM participants include Meagan Andreasen of Warner Robins, Hannah Cabe of Harrison, Megan Kral of White Plains, and Mary Catherine Stamey of Valdosta. In addition, Hars Singh, a Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Rural Pediatric Scholar from Bainbridge, is participating in the summer program.


The Maternal Health Observership is structured so students complete a variety of educational and hands-on learning activities over the course six weeks. Some of the highlights of the observership include attending GRHIC’s 2023 Maternal Health Symposium, participating in a maternal health speaker series, completing clinical site visits, attending an educational documentary screening and discussion about the epidemic of maternal mortality, and learning how to develop research skills by creating a scholarly project that focuses on identifying ways to improve maternal health in Georgia.  

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Sweet Georgia Peach Cobbler Crumble


5 Peaches

6 tbsp Wheat Flour

5 tbsp Sugar

4 tbsp Light Brown Sugar

Pinch salt

2 Egg Whites

6 tbsp Butter

2 tbsp Cinnamon


Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Lightly grease a small baking dish (9x9 or similar).

Wash, dry, core, and slice peaches.

Add them to a large bowl and coat with brown sugar.

Melt butter and skim foam off the top to clarify it (optional).

In a separate bowl, mix in other ingredients which will create the crumble mixture.

Place peaches in the baking dish, and sprinkle crumble on top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Serve warm with fresh cream or ice cream.

Check out more recipes and locally grown products from Dickey Farms

Center Hosts Second-Annual Maternal Health Symposium

The Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center (GRHIC) hosted its second-annual Maternal Health Symposium on June 22, 2023. GRHIC welcomed nearly 90 physicians, medical students, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals to this training event to learn more about health disparities affecting maternal health.


This year’s symposium theme was the Life Cycle of Maternal Health, which focused on how optimum health during all aspects of life’s stages is crucial to positive outcomes: from birth to adolescence, teen years to adulthood, pregnant mothers to senior adults. Seven speakers presented topics on children and adolescents, preconception, pregnancy and postpartum, and menopause.


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>> Watch Now: Maternal Health Symposium Presentations

Rural Pediatric Scholars Spend the Day at Children's

The inaugural cohort of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Rural Pediatric Scholars, from Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM), attended a one-day educational event hosted by Dr. Brad Weselman, pediatrician and executive director of The Children's Care Network. GRHIC staff joined scholars for the jam-packed day of activities that spread across three Children’s locations, including Egleston Hospital, the Support Center, and the new Center for Advanced Pediatrics (CAP).


Scholars attended grand rounds at Egleston Hospital, where medical residents presented various patient cases. Monika Sullivan, DO, shared her personal pediatric residency experience and advice on applying to programs across the country; she then led a tour of the facility and grounds. Scholars learned about critical state health care policy changes from John Smith, Children’s vice president of government affairs. While at the CAP, they viewed the construction of the new Children's Arthur

M. Blank Hospital and a rendering of its interior. Scholars concluded the day shadowing physicians Baruch Goldberg, MD, Jackson Londeree, DO, Larry Greenbaum, MD, Ph.D., Melissa Trabold, CPNP, and meeting patients and their families while observing a typical clinic visit. The shadowing opportunity with Dr. Greenbaum offered exposure to telehealth follow-up appointments with children and their parents in need of specialty pediatric services, which is a key enhancement of pediatric care within the scope of the Rural Pediatric Health Initiative.


The experience allowed scholars to reflect on the unique knowledge and skills needed to become a practicing pediatrician and consider how this innovative initiative between MUSM, Children’s, and the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center will benefit the future of pediatric health care in Georgia.

Photo courtesy of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Telehealth Carts Delivered to Pediatric Offices

Pediatric health care is progressing in several rural counties of Georgia. Telehealth equipment has been installed and trainings are underway at pediatric clinics. The telehealth equipment includes a mobile cart housed with dual monitor screens for easy viewing access of patient-provider videos and patient charts. Additionally, the cart includes a scope with detachable peripherals to examine mouth, nose, eyes, ears, and skin; stethoscope; and camera scope for up-close examining. The cart comes complete with Pathways and TeleSensi digital software, along with telehealth customer support that can be accessed 24/7 via online services. Equipment has been installed in Coffee, Dodge, Laurens, Worth, and Washington counties. Telehealth is more than a telephone call or video chat. This equipment and the trainings ensure a standard of care comparable to a visit in the pediatrician's office.

Rural Hospitals Assessed for Equipment Needs

On-site visits to eight rural hospitals continue as emergency departments are being assessed for pediatric readiness. Comprehensive assessments include a review of equipment to deal with acute respiratory problems and traumatic injuries as well as development of quality improvement strategies to enhance pediatric care. Disaster preparedness materials plus a variety of policies and procedures are available for these hospitals. 

First Phase of Mental Health Screenings Begins

The Mental Health and Wellness Support and Care team pre-piloted its first mental health and wellness screening days in Washington and Jefferson counties. Students who received parental consent participated in the process. Screening administrators provided recommendations based on daily results to alert school systems where there were intervention needs. The screening administrators received positive feedback from students and school administrators about the screening process. The successful implementation of this phase of the screening initiative offers the team the ability to improve the standardized screening process for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year.

Training and News for Rural Pediatric Health Care Providers

Rural Pediatric News is published bimonthly and highlights training and continuing medical education options, recommended reading, physician spotlights, seasonal health and wellness information to share with patients, and more.

The Pediatric Advanced Speakers Series is a free monthly training series for providers to earn CME credits, offered by Mercer University School of Medicine, through one-hour virtual training sessions with subject matter experts in a variety of topics. PASS includes peer-led rural pediatric patient case studies and an in-person CME fall conference.

If you are a rural pediatric provider, please click to register for trainings and subscribe to Rural Pediatric News.

Grow Your Telehealth Knowledge through Workgroups

The Southeastern Telehealth Resource Center (SETRC) is hosting online telehealth workgroups for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. SETRC is one of 14 Telehealth Resource Centers funded by the federal Office for the Advancement of Telehealth. SETRC's mission is to serve as the focal point for advancing telehealth in rural and underserved communities in the southeastern U.S.  

The meetings are open to anyone interested in telehealth in their state. The state workgroups bring together a grassroots network, and attendees have the opportunity to network, get the latest updates, learn tools and tips, and connect with potential partners. 


  • Georgia: July 26, 10 a.m. – Noon ET
  • Alabama: July 27, 10 a.m. – Noon CT
  • Florida: July 28, 10 a.m. – Noon ET

Click for Details

2023 Ongoing Center Initiatives

Maternal Health Improvement

All Rural Counties

Kedrick Williams

Maternal Health Observership

All Rural Counties

Kedrick Williams

Maternal Health Symposium

All Rural Counties

Joan Anderson

Community Health Reporter

All Rural Counties

Kedrick Williams

Clinical Ethics ECHO

All Rural Counties

Chris Scoggins

Opioid Misuse Prevention Project

Rural Hospitals

Joan Anderson, Chris Scoggins

ASIST Suicide Training

All Rural Counties

Travis Crafter

Rural Trauma Training

All Rural Counties

Glenda Grant

Community Resiliency

Model (CRM)

All Rural Counties

Joan Anderson, Travis Crafter

Mental Health First Aid

All Rural Counties

Kedrick Williams,

Glenda Grant

Pediatric Mental Health Initiative

Ben Hill, Jefferson, Washington

Joan Anderson

Barber/Beauty Shop Project

Rural Counties TBD

Kimberly Carr

QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention

All Rural Counties

Joan Anderson

Hancock County COVID-19/Flu Vaccine Hesitancy Needs Assessment


Kimberly Carr

Faith in Rural Health

Berrien, Putnam, Toombs/Montgomery

Paul Byrd

Health Fairs

Rural Partners

Amanda Livingston

The Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center works with rural partners to enhance health education through health fairs. 

We encourage these community members to join us:

Harris County | July 29

Co-hosts: Mercer Medicine, Harris County School District

Randolph County | September 9

Co-host: Randolph County Family Connection

Upson County | September 23

Host: Dissipating Disparities

Washington County | October 7

Saint James Christian Fellowship/Pastor Mack Jackson

Are you a vendor wanting to participate in a health fair?

Submit the application below.



In 2018, Georgia lawmakers dedicated special funds to establish a new Rural Health Innovation Center tasked with confronting the complex health care challenges and wellness disparities facing rural communities. Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) was awarded the grant funds in 2019 and formally established the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center on its Macon campus. MUSM boasts a longstanding commitment to serving rural Georgia’s health needs, with a mission to educate physicians dedicated to tackling the health challenges in rural Georgia. The Rural Health Innovation Center serves as a critical resource to rural communities to improve access and effectiveness of health care by offering research, collaboration, and training opportunities.



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