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Community Engagement

Community Engagement Overview

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines community engagement as “the process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people affiliated by geographic proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues affecting the well-being of those people.” The Emory Family Medicine Residency provides community engagement opportunities for our residents through partnerships with local organizations. The community engagement opportunities available to Emory Family Medicine can be broadly divided into those that provide intermittent opportunities (one or a few times a year) and those that provide continuous opportunities (occur on a more regular basis such as daily or weekly).

Community Medicine Rotation: Emory Family Medicine community medicine rotation is a 4 week rotation during the third year of the residency. It will include three weeks at the Grady Brookhaven Health Center and one week that will be flexible and dependent on resident choice. This last week can be done entirely at one of the continuous opportunities or can be a combination of two to three of these approximating about thirty hours. Residents will be required to make this selection at least 60 days prior to the onset of their community medicine rotation.

Community Service Award: To inspire, encourage and reward a spirit community engagement and service, there will be an annual community service award to a deserving resident and a deserving faculty. This award will be presented during the annual graduation party and will be voted on by residents and faculty.

Intermittent Community Engagement Opportunities

1. Farmworkers Project

Founded in 1996 by Tom Himelick, PA-C in collaboration with the Southwest Georgia Area Health Education Center, this is the centerpiece of the Emory PA Program’s proud history of community involvement and collaboration. The project seeks not only to provide care to a medically underserved and economically important population of Georgia, but to also increase the awareness and competency of health care providers and students in working with this population.

Emory University physician assistant students and Emory Family Medicine residents working under the direction of attending physicians from the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory School of Medicine, and PA-C faculty travel to South Georgia to offer free health services to migrant farm workers and their families. In addition to these providers, the success of this program is in large part to supporting partners and volunteers. The project serves an average of about 1,500 patients over a two week period in June in Valdosta and Bainbridge GA with provision of not just healthcare but clothing and other items, such as sunglasses, caps, toothbrushes, toothpaste and more.

2. PA Program Annual 5K Fun Run

Emory’s first year PA class sponsors this Fun Run every spring to raise funds for non-profit partners that provide compassionate healthcare to those who otherwise would not have access such as:

- The South Georgia Farmworker Health Project

- HEALing Community Center

- Good Samaritan Health Center

As the name implies, it is a ‘fun run’ with participants dressed up as superheroes (Heros at the Heel) with lots of fun activities. This annual event takes place in April and was started in 2001. It has several corporate sponsors and raises a significant amount of money for its causes.

3.Tar Wars

Tar Wars® is a tobacco-free education program for fourth and fifth grade students designed to teach kids about the short-term adverse health effects of tobacco use, the cost associated with using tobacco products, and the advertising techniques used by the tobacco industry to market their products to youth.

We run this program in association with the Georgia Healthy Family Alliance. Residents go in groups and speak to fourth and fifth graders; it is quite interactive and has been described as a ‘blast’ by all. Attendance is a program requirement for all Emory Family Medicine residents.

Tar Wars® usually occurs over several days annually. Morningside Elementary School in Atlanta has hosted the last few years, although any interested elementary school could be a host. The current chief residents typically coordinate with potential participating schools and residents.

4. Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta

Mission Statement: “To save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all, and energizing science to find the cures.”

Susan G. Komen’s vision is that of a world without breast cancer. It is the largest and best-funded breast cancer organization in the United States. Once a year in early summer, they have a 5K ‘Race for Cure’.

5. Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless

Currently known as HOSEA HELPS, this organization was founded in GA in 1972 by Hosea Williams and has assisted over a million people in need. There are usually 4 events per year. During each event, about ten thousand homeless individuals and poor working families enjoy a hot meal, haircuts for the men, hair care for the women, and medical care.

Hosea Feed the Hungry Thanksgiving & Hosea Feed the Hungry Christmas Day

Georgia World Congress Center

285 Andrew Young International Blvd, Atlanta, GA  

Hosea Feed the Hungry Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Georgia World Congress Center (or at a local mega church)

Hosea Feed the Hungry Easter Sunday

Hosea Headquarters

1035 Donnelly Ave, SW, Atlanta, GA

6. Sisters by Choice

Sisters by Choice was founded in 1989 by Dr. Rogsbert Phillips-Reed, an Emory-affiliated, Atlanta-based breast surgeon. They provide 1000 free mammograms and breast examinations in a mobile clinic to underserved, uninsured, unemployed, and homeless women each year as well as educational seminars, workshops, and health fairs promoting breast cancer awareness. They welcome volunteer medical staff at their annual fundraiser 5K Pink Ribbon Walk.

7. Hunger Walk Run Atlanta

18.7% of people living in the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s (ACFB) service area in greater Atlanta and north Georgia are food insecure, meaning that they don’t always know where they will find their next meal. The Hunger Walk/Run annual 5K walk and “fun run” began in 1984 and is an annual event of the ACFB that aims to unite the community to raise awareness and critical funds for the local hunger relief. Proceeds from the event benefit the ACFB and other local non-profit organizations that support food pantries, community kitchens, shelters, and other programs for people in need of food assistance. As of 2017, in its 33rd year, the event had raised over $8 million, enough to provide 32 million meals.

The event usually takes place in late February/early March. Medical volunteers partake in provision of basic medical care for the participants in the race.

8. Atlanta Track Club Races including the AJC Peachtree Road Race

The Atlanta Track Club is a member-based organization that delivers world-class events, training programs and community outreach activities to the metro Atlanta area. The club is committed to creating an active and healthy Atlanta. Through running and walking, they aim to motivate, inspire, and engage the community to enjoy healthier lifestyles. It puts on over thirty events each year throughout the Atlanta area, including the AJC Peachtree Road Race, Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon, PNC Atlanta 10-Miler and the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon.  

During each race, the club has need for a volunteer attending physician to be Lead Physician as well as other physicians, nurses, medical transport volunteers, and emergency medical technicians.


Below is a sampling of the Atlanta Track Club’s calendar of races for 2017. Please note that the number of races, dates and locations may change from year to year. An updated list can be found at

Additionally the list below does not represent their complete list of events.  

August 19 - Atlanta's Finest 5K, One Mile & 50m Dash
September 23 - Wingfoot XC Classic

Continuous Community Engagement Opportunities

1. Brookhaven Health Center

Brookhaven Health Center is one of Grady’s aptly named Neighborhood Health Centers. It offers primary care and more for men, women, and children of all ages. Primary care physicians and staff manage many common chronic illnesses, and offer preventive services/routine health maintenance and non-emergent urgent care services. They also provide senior services, social services, and financial services. They have interpreters and bilingual providers and staff.

On-site facilities include: Pharmacy, Lab, Ultrasound, X-ray and Echo.

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 8.00 am to 5.00 pm.

2. Good Samaritan Health Center

Founded in 1998 by Dr. Bill Warren, this center has several full time staff and over 400 volunteers providing care for over 30,000 patients annually. Services include medical, dental, health education, and mental health. Atlanta’s homeless and those with no income make up about 24% of patient visits, the working poor 69% and those who are Medicaid/Medicare eligible compose 7%. Patients pay on a reduced, sliding fee scale based on income and family size.

3. Bridge Atlanta

Established in 2016, Bridge Atlanta is a faith-based organization that is committed to providing low-cost comprehensive primary care (routine, non-emergency medical services), specialty health care, and behavioral health counselling to the uninsured and medically underserved populations of Gwinnett County and surrounding communities. They incorporate a holistic approach that includes preventive care and maintenance education, nutrition, and wellness programs as well as pastoral care.

Effective October 2nd 2017, Bridge Atlanta will be known as Good Samaritan Health Center of East Gwinnett. At that time, fees will become the same as the Good Samaritan Health Centers.

Hours of Operation:

Monday: 7.45am – 4.00pm

Tuesday: 7.45am – 4.00pm

Thursday: 7.45am – 4.00pm

Saturday: (2nd and 4th of each month) 7.45am – 12.00pm

Coming soon:

Wednesday: 12.00pm – 8.00pm

Friday: 7.45am – 3.00pm

Saturday: Open all Saturdays

4. Gateway Center

The Gateway Center is the ‘gateway’ to a continuum of care that helps individuals move out of homelessness. The center provides 347 beds for men who enter into programs geared to address the underlying reasons for their homelessness, such as unemployment, addictions, mental illness, and domestic abuse. Since its inception in 2005, over 35,000 individual clients have been served and over 10,000 medical services provided. The program has had remarkable heartwarming success stories. It operates a fully-staffed clinic.

Hours of Operation:

Tuesdays (2 to 3 X per month): 6.00pm – 8.30pm.

Staffed by Emory students and residents under faculty supervision

Monday to Friday: 8.30am – 5.00pm.

Staffed by Mercy Care and Gateway employees.

Credentialing is required to work here. Begin this process at least three months prior to intended start date.

5. Portal de Salud

This organization was founded in 2013 by Olga and Jose Fernando Jimenez and is currently run by Dr. Flavia Mercado, a pediatrician and former Emory faculty member. It aims to educate and empower the community through knowledge and understanding of health risks to prevent or control diseases, to understand how to navigate and access the health system, and to take action and responsibility for their own health. It began as a partnership with a local health clinic, but has now grown into a weekly Wellness/Prevention Program and an annual health fair (Feria de Salud) which usually falls on either the last weekend in September or the first weekend in October during Hispanic Heritage month and is held at:

Our Lady of Americas

4603 Lawrenceville Highway

Lilburn, GA 30047

The fair has up to 700 patients and 400 volunteer clinical and nonclinical participants each year with stations such as Cardiovascular, Nutrition, Hearing, Vision, Dental, Pediatric/Teen, Vaccine, Colon Health, Men’ Health, Women’s Health, HIV, Skin Care and more.

Registration is required to participate.

Register at

Contact for details of fair:

The Wellness/Prevention Program takes place every Wednesday at the same location as the health fair. It is preferable if a faculty member from Emory Family Medicine accompanies residents willing to attend this clinic. Our faculty lead is Dr. Susy Alfonso.

Hours of Operation:

Wednesdays 5.00pm – 8.00pm

6. Harriet Tubman clinic at Clarkston Community Health Center

The Clarkston Community Health Center was founded in 2013 to serve as a patient-centered medical home providing an economically feasible, culturally and linguistically sensitive continuum of care for all patients in the network area including health screening, primary, and preventive healthcare to the refugee, indigent, underinsured and uninsured populations of the Clarkston community and surrounding areas.

The Harriet Tubman Women’s clinic started in January 2017 and provides quality care for uninsured and underserved women in a welcoming, safe, and culturally sensitive environment. All services are provided free of charge and include well woman exams, pap smears, clinical breast exams, child spacing and family planning, sexually transmitted infection screening, menopause management , pregnancy testing and blood and urine tests.

Hours of operation: Sundays 4.00pm – 6.00pm

Additionally, the Clarkston Community Health Center now runs a general medical clinic.

Hours of Operation: Sundays 10.00am – 2.00pm

7. Mercy Care Clinics

Serving Atlanta since 1985, Mercy Care Services, a non-profit organization, was founded as an offshoot of the healing ministry of the ‘Sisters of Mercy.’  Through a network of clinics and outreach programs, patients can access an array of medical and social services delivered with compassion. Primarily serving the uninsured (83% of patients), and the poor (83% of patients live below the poverty line), Mercy Care serves over 52,000 patients on an annual basis, including over 7,000 dental visits, 6,000 case management visits and 9,000 mental health visits.

Participation by Emory Family Medicine residents in the Mercy Care Clinics is on a shadowing/observership basis only. This includes:

-        Accompanying the Street Medicine team two nights a week as they care for patients actually living on the streets of Atlanta. The available evenings are Mondays and Wednesdays 5.30pm – 10.00pm

-        Shadowing the clinician providing care in the HIV primary care clinic. Available times are Wednesdays and Thursdays 8.30am – 5.00pm and Fridays 8.30am – 12.00pm.