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Program Goal 3

Promote opportunities for community engaged learning, service, and outreach to underserved populations

100% of our students participate in community outreach opportunities provided by the Emory PA Program. These opportunities include:

The South Georgia Farmworker Health Project (SGFHP) founded in 1996

In partnership with: the Decatur County Farmworker Health Program, the Lake Park Migrant Farmworker Clinic, LLC, the Southwest Georgia Area Health Education Center (SOWEGA), Georgia State Department of Public Health, Georgia State Department of Education, Emory University School of Medicine Departments of Family and Preventive Medicine, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Pediatrics, Emory Doctoral Physical Therapy Program, Rollins School of Public Health, Mercer University, Valdosta State University, the Lion’s Lighthouse Project, the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta, Farmworker Justice and numerous faith-based communities including Central Congregational United Church of Christ in Atlanta and the Georgia Baptist Convention.  

Project Scope: Over 200 student-clinicians, volunteer physician faculty, medical interpreters and logistics volunteers travel to rural south Georgia to provide two weeks of free, high-quality medical and dental care to approximately 1,600 migrant farmworkers and their families each June.  Much needed primary care services and medications are provided to an often invisible patient population.  PA students, doctoral-level PT students, medical students and marriage and family therapy students work together in teams to care for patients, including treating acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries from farm labor, chronic disease management for diabetes, hypertension and asthma, and mental health counseling. Students also mentor college-bound teens interested the health professions through the Teen Corp Program.  

Impact: Now in its 21st year, the Project has delivered care to over 26,000 patients since its inception and has been awarded numerous grants for its innovative, interprofessional training curricula and reach.  

The Emory PA Student-Directed Clinic at The Good Samaritan Health Center, founded in 2006

Project Scope: The Good Samaritan Health Center, a faith-based organization that serves as a comprehensive Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model for the working poor and underinsured provides medical, dental and behavioral counseling services. Atlanta's homeless and those with no income make up about 20% of patient visits, the working poor 70%, and those who are Medicaid/Medicare eligible compose 10% of the Center’s 30,000 visits each year. Patients pay on a reduced sliding fee scale based on income. The Center incorporates innovative chronic disease management through their Urban Farm Program which grows and distributes approximately 12,000 pounds of fresh produce, a 24-hour access gym, and a full-time registered dietician for nutrition counseling.

Impact: Our partnership with “Good Sam” dates back to 2003, when students first came to provide education and counseling to patients at the fledgling clinic started by pediatrician and philanthropist William Warren, IV, MD.  Since moving to its new location in the English Avenue neighborhood of Atlanta in 2006, the PA Program has staffed a student-led “clinic” on the first Saturday of each month and helps see new patients under the supervision of volunteer physicians from our Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.  Pre-clinic student clinicians work closely with clinical year PA students to take patient histories and perform physical exams, gaining valuable experience perfecting their oral patient presentation skills, and learning to formulate an appropriate assessment and plan for each patient.  Students learn how to deliver culturally competent care by working alongside certified medical interpreters while caring for the Center’s growing immigrant and refugee patient population. PA students have been integral in providing nutrition education through their efforts on the Good Sam Urban Farm and the Food RX Program and are often invited to represent Good Sam at community health screening events. Students may also request a clinical elective rotation at Good Sam during their clinical year and gain a valuable exposure to the PCMH model of care.

The Emory PA Student-Directed “Clinic” at the HEALing Community Center, Atlanta’s West EndFounded in 2013

Project Scope: Founder and Emory physician, Charles Moore, MD, invited Emory PA Program faculty and students to join him in caring for Atlanta’s poor and uninsured patients in the Spring of 2013 when his vision of starting a free clinic became reality.  Now in our fifth year of service at HEAL, Emory PA students are excited to re-launch a monthly student-led “clinic” at this growing Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Atlanta’s West End Community. Students receive training to serve as diabetes educators and health coaches and help teach monthly class sessions for patients who are pre-diabetic, are newly diagnosed with diabetes or who are having difficulty managing their illness. This Center is built on the PCMH model and affords patients the ability to receive medical, dental and behavioral health services in one location. Students interested in public health or in our dual-degree program may be particularly interested in requesting this site for an elective rotation during their clinical year.         

Impact:  Students and PA Program faculty have been involved in many aspects of providing care and outreach to HEAL patients including serving as nutrition educators through the Center’s “Food is Medicine” initiative and in partnership with the nationally acclaimed, “Cooking Matters” program where Emory PA students lead healthy cooking demonstrations at local schools and YMCAs for families to learn simple strategies to combat childhood obesity. Our students are also involved with the “Walk with a Doc” program aimed at helping patients use a structured walking program to increase physical activity and improve health, and serve yearly at the Center’s “Back to School” health fair each August.

Portal de Salud, Catholic Mission of the America’s, Lilburn, Emory PA partnership founded in 2014

Project Scope: Portal de Salud is a growing health ministry that is in the process of formally organizing as a recognized non-profit organization and is currently operating through an office at the Catholic Mission, Our Lady of the Americas in Lilburn.  The health education and outreach work is based on the “Promatora de Salud”, or community health worker model as a means to support the 29,000 members of the church community and is supported through an interprofessional group of PA, medical and nursing students who staff the health education office weekly and serve as health educators. Through a vast and growing network of healthcare providers, clinics and resources, Portal de Salud is not only connecting parish members to vital health services, but also brings much needed patient education, advocacy, and health screenings to the growing Hispanic and Latino community in metropolitan Atlanta.

Impact: PA students help organize and deliver free healthcare services including health exams, immunizations, and screenings to over 1,000 patients during the groups’ growing large-scale health fair (Feria) event held one Saturday in September.  First year students are able to connect their knowledge and skills about pediatric care while hosting the “Kids’ Village” and engage families with fun activities aimed at increasing awareness of the importance of nutrition and physical activity, regular pediatric care and immunizations in this largely immigrant patient population.  Clinical year students are supervised to administer health exams, perform point of care testing for glucose, cholesterol, and HIV screening and deliver immunizations.  Students who are interested in becoming culturally competent clinicians and are fluent in Spanish are encouraged to consider volunteering for the evening “clinic.”

Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, Downtown Atlanta, Emory PA partnership founded in 2011  

Impact: Founded by Civil Rights leader and philanthropist, the late Rev. Hosea Williams, in 1971, Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless International, Inc., is one of the largest outreach organizations in Atlanta serving as many as 10,000 people four times per year on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday and Easter.  In conjunction with the Morehouse School of Medicine, PA students and faculty from the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine help provide health screenings and free primary care services care during these impactful one-day events.

Christian Medical and Dental Association of Atlanta (CMDA) Mobile Health Clinic in Clarkston, Emory PA partnership founded in 2016

Project Scope: CMDA is a national 501 c (3) organization established in 1931 that and serves as a network of medical and dental providers who seek to serve others both locally and globally.  The Atlanta chapter organizes a monthly mobile health unit that sees patients at the Clarkston Community Center and cares for a large immigrant and refugee population from countries including Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Ethiopia, Burma and the Sudan.  The organization also provides outreach to Atlanta’s large homeless population and to victims of sex trafficking, a growing problem for the city.  CMDA also offers several opportunities for PA students to join them on international medical mission trips to El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.  Students interested in pursuing this option must apply early in coordination with the Clinical Coordinators.   

Impact: Last year, Emory PA students played an integral part in the success of the mobile health unit’s ability to provide compassionate care to over 400 refugee patients during the academic year.  Student clinicians are supervised by both Emory and other volunteer physician preceptors who function under a unique medical volunteer program administered through the State of Georgia Department of Public Health called the “Volunteers in Health Program.”  

Boat People S. O. S., Emory PA partnership founded in 2013

Project Scope: Boat People S.O.S. Atlanta is the local branch of Boat People S.O.S, Inc., an international Vietnamese-American nonprofit community-based organization serving the growing Asian- American community in Georgia. 

Impact: Emory PA students and faculty are invited to participate in this one-day event each September to deliver health screenings for blood pressure and diabetes, administer flu vaccines and provide health education to over 1,000 members of Atlanta’s Vietnamese population in one day.

Opportunities for Leadership and Advocacy

Health Careers Academy (HCA), Emory PA partnership founded in 2105

First year Emory PA students are active leaders in the Health Career Academy Program, a national STEM and health professions pipeline project that was created through a partnership with Aetna Healthcare.  An interprofessional group of Emory medical, public health and nursing students all collaborate to work in high schools in the Atlanta Public School district with the goal of helping interest underrepresented minority students in future health careers.  PA students commit to teaching an engaging and hands-on science and health curriculum twice per week after school during the spring semester and then help students prepare a peer-led project that is showcased at a competition held here on the School of Medicine campus.

Health Education Students Taking Action Together, Inc. (Health STAT), Emory PA partnership founded in 2010

HealthSTAT is a nonprofit, member organization run by health professional students from various programs in Georgia including Emory’s Schools of Medicine, Rollins School of Public Health and Nursing School. HealthSTAT seeks to make being active in the health community a professional habit and helps students see advocacy as a continuum that links medical education and service to policy.  Students can volunteer with the program’s Street Medicine outreach team, can learn how to lobby at the State Capitol on behalf of patients, and will gain valuable insight and skills to link patients with Georgia’s non-profits.  Past Emory PA students have held a variety of committee leadership roles within this active student-led organization and must be willing to make a two-year commitment as a Committee Chair. 

The Urban Health Initiative (UHI), Emory PA partnership founded in 2013

The Urban Health Initiative is an Emory-sponsored interprofessional collaboration of professionals from across the University’s academic, medical, and public health programs who work together with the goal of helping underserved communities across urban Atlanta to eliminate health disparities and achieve equity in health and well-being.   Emory PA students interested in the intersection of public health policy, advocacy and medicine can volunteer to organize a new outreach project, or participate in community-based outreach efforts and research.  Former students have volunteered with UHI on projects aiming to improve navigation in the healthcare system, bring community gardens to Atlanta’s food deserts, and advocacy for patients facing homelessness or mental health diagnoses. 

Social Medicine Elective (MD-920), Emory PA partnership founded in 2012

Students can participate in a four-week elective during their clinical year that aims to deepen their understanding of the social determinants of health and patient advocacy while learning strategies to overcome health disparities through service learning and experiential activities in the community. To date more than 15 PA students have participated in this unique elective that is combined with another primary care patient care experience. Highly motivated students who desire additional public health exposure or who plan to work in a community medicine setting with an under-resourced community are encouraged to apply. Students will sample a variety of activities and outreach efforts in order to gain a realistic view of how many “non-medical” issues including health literacy and lifestyle impact a patient’s ability to effectively manage their own health.        


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