Augusta University awards $10K grants to rural health projects

A researcher works in a lab at the Murphey Building during the Levitate Video Shoot Thursday...
A researcher works in a lab at the Murphey Building during the Levitate Video Shoot Thursday morning April 29, 2021 at the AU Health Sciences Campus. Job # 386220 Photo by Michael Holahan/Augusta University Communications & Marketing(Michael Holahan | Michael Holahan)
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 1:48 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta University has announced that four collaborative research projects will each be awarded grants this year, in addition to collaborating with Burke Health to help treat patients.

Each project will receive $10,000, to focus on clinical practice, health care delivery, research in rural health context, education for rural health care, and artistic representation from a rural perspective.

Dr. Neil MacKinnon says, “This funding is intended to invite and support multidisciplinary collaborative partnerships that investigate issues around access to care, experiential learning, and connectivity in rural communities. These four funded projects reflect a mix of new collaborations and building off of previous research.”

The projects stem from the Converge International Rural Health Symposium, a multidisciplinary conference created to encourage joint research between four universities, exchange programs for faculty and students, and potentially even joint certificates and degrees with a focus on rural health.

The following four applications were each awarded a $10,000 grant from the Office of the Provost at Augusta University:

  • “Using app-based digital healthcare intervention to encourage total skin self-examination by melanoma survivors,” submitted by Kendall Buchanan, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at MCG, and Peter Murchie, Ph.D., a physician, and professor of Primary Care at the University of Aberdeen
  • “How can hybrid healthcare education drive change in remote, rural, and island practice?” submitted by Denise Kornegay, associate dean and executive director of Area Health Education Centers at MCG, and Anita Laidlaw, director of the University of Aberdeen’s Center for Healthcare Education and Research
  • “Study of rural residents using urgent care and emergency departments for dental care: Examination of the relationship between visits to urgent care facilities and emergency departments due to non-traumatic dental conditions among residents of DHPSAs in the state of Georgia (GA) as well as Aberdeen and surrounding areas,” submitted by Travis McMaine, DMD, assistant professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Dental College of Georgia at AU, and Ekta Gupta, Ph.D., a lecturer for the Institute of Dentistry at the University of Aberdeen
  • “Maternal health- delayed antenatal care: Understanding barriers to care through the perspectives of new mothers who experienced delayed antenatal care in rural Georgia and rural Scotland,” submitted by Preethi Reddi, a student at MCG, and Joanna Shim, a research fellow at Robert Gordon University

“Dr. MacKinnon and I are very excited to be able to support these four research projects that show true collaboration and innovation between researchers from not only different universities but different backgrounds and disciplines, as well. This grant program reflects our investment in rural health,” Professor Zach Kelehear says.

Fall 2022 marked the second year of Converge, where AU hosted the international rural health symposium.

AU has also collaborated with Burke Health in Waynesboro to create a heart team approach allowing for referral, transport, and necessary decision-making and treatment for those patients who may be too critically ill to be treated onsite.

Burke Health was recently granted accreditation for its Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Program. The Corazon, Inc. accreditation focused on ensuring that the above standards and most recent societal guidelines were met.

Frank Cunningham, Cardiac Cath Manager at Burke Health, says, “I am proud to be a part of a recognized, high-quality cardiovascular program that will provide life-saving care to this community and the rural areas surrounding it. Corazon is the national leader in program development, and this accreditation is something that all of us at Burke Health, along with the people of Burke County, can be very proud of.”

The support of experienced Interventional Cardiologists who have performed a minimum of 50 PCI procedures within the previous 12 months. These physicians will be available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and 365 days per year.