Message from the Program Director

Jacob WarrenThank you for your interest in the Ph.D. in Rural Health Sciences within the Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM). The School of Medicine was founded in 1982 with the mission of meeting the health needs of rural Georgia, initially through the training of primary care physicians and more recently through its expansion into graduate programs as well.

Nearly 20% of Americans reside in rural communities, and in this context face a number of health disparities ranging from maternal death to hypertension. While rural America has great needs, it also has a unique vibrancy, resourcefulness and tenacity.  As a result, innovative and multidisciplinary approaches are best positioned to help rural communities achieve their full health potential.

The Ph.D. in Rural Health Sciences provides students with the multidisciplinary skills necessary to become lifelong researchers and lifelong learners in the field of rural health.  Faculty within the program come from the fields of epidemiology, clinical psychology, statistics, sociology, environmental health, business and political science and bring this diversity of thought and experience to the curriculum. In addition, the curriculum contains a number of hands-on, applied research opportunities to ensure students not only learn principles, but see them directly applied in developing novel solutions to benefit the health of rural residents.

We invite you to join us in making a difference in rural America.  Please explore our full program website to learn more details about our program, and do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have.


Jacob C. Warren, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Program Director, Ph.D. in Rural Health Sciences
Rufus C. Harris Endowed Chair
Director, Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities (an NIH Center of Excellence)
Vice Chair for Research, Department of Community Medicine
Professor of Community Medicine