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Jimmy Carter Helps Open Clinic for Town with No Doctor

It’s been more than 35 years since Jimmy Carter was president, but he still hasn’t stopped helping people. Thanks in large part to Carter, a small town in Georgia with no doctor will soon have a health clinic.

Carter was born and still lives in the tiny town of Plains, Georgia. It has an estimated population of just over 700 people. Not one of those 700 people is a practicing physician.

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In fact, most of southern and southwestern Georgia is lacking in proper health facilities. Six of Georgia’s 159 counties have no physician. Dozens of the state’s counties are also lacking either a pediatrician, OB-GYN, or general surgeon.

However, President Carter is helping to change that. Carter recently spoke with the president of Mercer University, where Carter is a trustee, about the need for a healthcare facility in Plains and other parts of rural Georgia.

As it turns out, Carter was quite convincing. The Mercer University School of Medicine will be opening a clinic in Plains next month. Dr. Jean Sumner, dean of the school of medicine, describes Carter as “very involved” in making that happen, saying the former president “opened the door.”

The clinic will employ both a practicing physician and a nurse practitioner. It will also offer telehealth services and help to train medical students from Mercer. The clinic will officially be Mercer’s first primary care clinic in a rural area.

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“Mercer is committed to rural health,” says Dr. Sumner. “We don’t need to rescue rural Georgia. We want to help rural Georgia rescue themselves.”

Sumner adds that the clinic will help in “developing and refining a model that will work in rural communities.” She also hopes it will encourage Mercer graduates to practice medicine in rural areas after they graduate.

Carter’s help in this project is far from earth-shattering. But his actions should make a big difference in the lives of people in rural Georgia. At age 93, it’s nice to see Carter still finding ways to use his influence to help his community.