Georgia Southern University

Dr. Bryant Smalley Receives National Rural Health Award

Bryant Smalley

Bryant Smalley, Ph.D., Psy.D. (center), receiving the 2015 Outstanding Educator Award from the National Rural Health Association CEO, Alan Morgan (left), and NRHA President, Jodi Schmidt (right).


Bryant Smalley, Ph.D., Psy.D., executive director of Georgia Southern University’s Rural Health Research Institute, was named “2015 Outstanding Educator” by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) at the 2015 Annual Rural Health Conference in Philadelphia, the largest gathering of rural health professionals in the nation.

The award is given annually to an individual who has contributed in substantial ways to the education and training of future rural health professionals, and is selected through a nationally-competitive process.

“It is a great honor to be selected as the 2015 Outstanding Educator by the National Rural Health Association,” said Smalley. “During my seven years at Georgia Southern University, I have had the great fortune to work with dozens of students and faculty members wishing to focus on rural health issues. The needs in rural health are great, but so too are the opportunities, and it is a privilege to contribute to the development of future rural health professionals.”

During his tenure at Georgia Southern, Smalley has received over $6 million in federal grants to support the efforts of the Rural Health Research Institute, including a $5.1 million National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence grant that supports several training programs for undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and early-stage faculty. One such program, the Disparities Elimination Summer Research Experience (DESRE) attracts a national cohort of students each summer to Georgia Southern for a six-week, full-time immersive research training experience. For the upcoming 2015 cycle, more than 400 students competed for the six available slots in the program.

Smalley also serves on the clinical faculty of Georgia Southern’s Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) training program, which is designed to prepare future professionals for careers in rural psychology. Smalley developed the program’s Rural Mental Health course, in addition to publishing two textbooks focused specifically on rural health issues (Rural Mental Health and Rural Public Health). He incorporates substantial student engagement into his research, with 10 student co-publications, nearly 40 student co-presentations and over 50 students engaged in research and service learning opportunities.

NRHA is a nonprofit organization working to improve the health and wellbeing 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.

“We’re especially proud of this year’s winners,” said Alan Morgan, NRHA CEO. “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.”

The Rural Health Research Institute is an interdisciplinary hub of rural health research, training and outreach within Georgia Southern University. Its mission is to improve health in rural areas by promoting cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research and outreach that connects faculty from diverse fields and promotes the development of researchers examining rural health issues. To learn more about the Rural Health Research Institute, visit


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