Population Health (formerly Community Medicine) Program

Student Resources


This program is designed to introduce students to the concepts of community medicine and the application of these concepts within primary care settings within rural and underserved areas of Georgia.   The program provides trainees the opportunity to learn the principles of population medicine/population health, community-based disease prevention, care of the underserved, and culturally appropriate approaches to health problems.

Class of 2020

During the first two years of our new integrated curriculum, Population Health will be included in each Block.  A three-week off campus experience (Population Health Visit) with a community physician is included as a component of Professional Growth and Development at the end of Block 2.  Community physicians serve as mentors to students who provide clinical care to patients, complete family assessments and conduct a community health needs assessment.

In Year 2, the Population Health Visit will occur in the 3 weeks preceding the Winter Break.

Class of 2017-19

During year two, students will again participate in a two week, campus-based phase which addresses evidence-based medicine and biostatistics Community Medicine II phase. During the four-week Community Medicine Year 2 Visit (in June), the student continues to work with the community-based physician preceptor providing clinical care to patients, following up on families previously assessed, and completing a Chronic Disease Patient Management Project. 

Fourth-year students will have an opportunity to conceptualize and implement a community-based or practice-systems based, longitudinal capstone project informed by the year one and year two projects. During year four, students may select from a number of electives offered by the Department of Community Medicine. Students are also exposed to current trends / issues relative to Community Medicine by attending the Grassmann Rural Medicine Lecture Series during their first and second years.

Year III

The Year III Program covers a 48 week period in which students are involved in service- based clerkships in Mercer-affiliated community teaching hospitals. The main community teaching hospitals are the Navicent Health in Macon, Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, Columbus Regional Medical Center, and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus with other sites as available throughout the State. The clerkships include a blend of ambulatory and hospital- based patient care to provide the students with a comprehensive clinical experience necessary for a general medical education. 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 and ethics. A Clinical Skills experience is also provided in Year III to provide continuing refinement of patient encounter skills.

Year IV

The Year IV program includes three required 4-week experiences: one in Community Medicine, and two 4-week selectives in Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, or Geriatric Medicine. A 4 week Sub-Internship which does not count toward the accumulation of patient contact hours is required of each student in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics /Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry or Surgery. This requirement may be achieved at a non-MUSM teaching facility if it is labeled as such in VSAS or meets with Year IV Committee Approval if it is not listed in the Senior Elective Catalog. Of the 17 weeks of elective experiences, at least 8 weeks of electives must be Mercer-sponsored electives. Unscheduled time (weeks of vacation time) is provided for residency interviews, vacation, and personal time. The Year IV program is intended to allow students to round out their clinical training experience while exploring different specialties as career options. Only 8 weeks in one subspecialty will be credited towards the 17 weeks of elective time needed for graduation. A minimum of 8 weeks of elective courses must have significant patient contact/significant patient care responsibilities. In addition, there is a Medical Ethics paper for senior students that is required, as well as a Clinical Performance Exam. The Senior Year is completed after the successful completion of a one (1) credit-hour Capstone Course designed to prepare the Senior Student for their entry into their Internship Year.