Georgia Southern University Establishes Rural Health Research Institute
Georgia Southern University is establishing a Rural Health Research Institute in an effort to close the health care gap that compromises the well-being of thousands of people in southeast Georgia.
“Georgia Southern University is committed to research that will improve the lives of those in southeast Georgia,” said University President Brooks Keel. “There are many people in this area who do not receive the health care they need for a variety of reasons. Our region of the state is located in a federally designated Health Professionals Shortage Area and surrounded by 21 counties that are classified as being in ‘rural persistent poverty.’ There is no question that the need for solutions is great, and we believe Georgia Southern University is uniquely poised to become the leader in rural health research in Georgia and the United States.”
The Rural Health Research Institute will be made up of current researchers and new faculty research hires from various fields whose mission will be to find ways to reduce health disparities and improve the outcomes of patients in rural areas. The researchers will come from three areas of the University: the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH), the School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS), and the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS). Bringing faculty members from different disciplines together to work in one area of research was one of the goals Keel set for the University when he began as president last year.
“Each of these researchers will bring a unique set of qualifications to the Rural Health Research Institute that will be incredibly valuable as they find ways to tackle this multi-faceted problem,” said Keel.
The University will also hire two professors and three associate professors with expertise in rural health research and a track record of securing research funding.
“By bringing this team of researchers together, , Georgia Southern University will advance research that we believe will make life better for thousands of people who are vulnerable and underserved,” said Charles Patterson, vice president of research and dean of the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies at Georgia Southern University. “Rural communities face unique health challenges. We believe it is important to look at more than just the health care system, but to also research the patients’ physical and emotional needs and how they can be better served by reducing barriers to health care in their communities.”
The Institute will be led by directors from each of the Colleges connected by the Institute: Dr. Bryant Smalley from CLASS and Dr. Jacob Warren from JPHCOPH will serve as co-Executive Directors, and Dr. Elaine Marshall from CHHS will serve as the Director of Faculty and Student Engagement.