SYLVESTER — Dr. Grace Davis, a pediatrician in Sylvester, will serve on the advisory board for the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center at the Mercer University School of Medicine.
“Since opening her practice in Worth County, Dr. Davis is now beginning to see the second generation of patients from a rural community where relationships rule. She has earned the confidence, trust and respect of her patients and peers and is known for her tenacity,” Debra Stokes, executive director of the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center, said. “Few barriers exist that would hinder her commitment to provide the best possible care to her patients. The Center is honored to have her as a member of our Advisory Board.”
In 2018, the state of Georgia allocated grant funding to establish the center. Its purpose was to confront the challenges to health and well-being that face the citizens of rural Georgia. The mission is to partner with rural Georgia to improve health care through research, creative strategies, consistent community support and long-term solutions.
“Adequate and timely health care in rural communities is inextricably connected to increased educational attainment, strong families and good paying jobs,” Davis said. “I am pleased to be a part of a comprehensive effort to ensure that Georgia leads the nation’s rural health care research and initiatives.”
Davis has practiced general pediatrics and adolescent medicine in Worth County since 1997. She graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and completed her residency at the University of South Florida College of Medicine.
She is actively involved in teaching medical students from the Medical College of Georgia, family practice residents from the Phoebe Family Practice Residency Program and nurse practitioner students.
She works closely with families, schools, hospitals, and the Department of Family and Children Services to provide pediatric care in rural communities, with an emphasis on evidence-based best-practice medicine and prevention.
Of Georgia’s 159 counties, 120 are considered rural. The Georgia State Office of Rural Health defines rural locations as those with populations of less than 50,000.
Sixty-three counties lack a pediatrician, 75 counties have no OB/GYN, 84 counties have no psychiatrist and eight have no physician at all. Overall, rural Georgians encounter higher rates of chronic disease, less access to health care and shorter life expectancies when compared with their urban counterparts.
Georgia continues to rank in the bottom 50% of states on a variety of health indicators.