The Diocese of Georgia is a geographically large area with many different resources for health care, ranging from tertiary care academic medical centers to small rural hospitals and free clinics. The population area served has several common health problems and, since many of the counties in the Diocese are in rural areas, there are also the unique challenges of providing care in medically underserved areas.

FACILITIES

Some of Georgia’s future physicians received their training at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. Other future physicians of Georgia are educated at Mercer University School of

Children's Medical Center, MCG

Medicine’s Savannah campus located at Memorial University Medical Center. Other tertiary care hospitals are located in Augusta, Savannah, Albany, and Valdosta.

Hospital care is not solely provided in larger urban centers, however. There are many medium sized to smaller hospitals located throughout the area that are staffed by dedicated professionals offering quality, compassionate care allowing patients to stay in their hometown to receive care.

HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

If there’s one thing that health professionals in this part of Georgia have in common is that there aren’t enough of them. Only seven of the counties in the Diocese are not classified as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) by the federal government. A map of Georgia’s counties and their HPSA status can be found here.

Like many other states, Georgia is facing a physician shortage, especially in rural areas. Primary care physicians are particularly short supply and new physicians tend to locate in suburban or urban areas instead of rural areas.

Physicians in the Diocese practice in every setting imaginable, from a large multispecialty group in an urban setting to a solo family practitioner in rural Georgia.  Like many other states, Georgia is facing a physician shortage, especially in rural areas. Primary care physicians are particularly short supply and new physicians tend to locate in suburban or urban areas instead of rural areas.

Nurses and allied health professionals work in a variety of settings, and the national nursing shortage has not escaped Georgia.

PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES

The Diocese of Georgia is composed primarily of rural counties that have limited healthcare resources. Physicians and other health care professionals who work in rural areas many times function with limited resources in terms of technology and specialized care.

Many of these rural counties have significant public health issues such as high rates of teen births, infant mortality, high blood pressure, heart disease, renal failure, and other chronic illnesses. These conditions are compounded by the shortage of primary care providers, meaning that residents of these counties may have difficulty accessing medical care or need to travel longer distances to receive care. A good summary of Georgia’s public health status can be found here, and its not encouraging.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR MINISTRY

There are many potential opportunities for health ministry both inside and outside the congregation. They can include health-related outreach projects in the community, congregational health and wellness programs, issue advocacy for health-related issues and facilities in the community, and support for patients and their families when a health crisis arises. Exploring our site can offer some ideas for specific ministries, or email the network: health@georgiaepiscopal.org.