Chandler Brandenburg of Newnan has been accepted into the Mercer University School of Medicine Accelerated Track Scholars Program.
The ACT program allows outstanding students to finish medical school in three years with less debt, and to focus intently on the primary care specialty that is their chosen area of interest.
Brandenburg, who will focus on family medicine, said she has always known she wanted to be a physician who could make a difference for patients who are disadvantaged because of socioeconomic status, environment, education and other social determinants.
“Family medicine was a perfect fit as it focuses on healing the whole patient through building strong relationships,” she said. “When I learned about the ACT program and its goal of creating community-responsive primary care physicians, I knew it was a perfect fit.
“So many Georgians simply don’t have access to health care, and I want to do everything in my power to try to work towards solving this problem,” Brandenburg added.
Brandenburg will receive her medical training in Savannah, but much of what shaped her career track took place in her hometown. She says she was heavily influenced by Dr. Kay Crosby and the Coweta Samaritan Clinic, and she isn’t ruling out returning to Newnan someday.
“I can absolutely see myself returning to Newnan to practice in the long run,” Brandenburg said. “I would love to contribute to the Coweta Samaritan Clinic as my experiences shadowing Dr. Kay Crosby had such a formative impact on my decision to go into primary care.”
The ACT program, which began in 2012 as a partnership between the Mercer University School of Medicine and the Memorial Health Family Medicine Residency Program, is intended to streamline, specialize and accelerate medical education.
“The program is academically and clinically challenging, and the students who are selected to participate are exceptional,” said Dr. Jean Sumner, dean of the MUSM. “The residency programs choose them very early in their medical career allowing early strong clinical experiences which results in deep understanding of their specialty.
“These young physicians will provide exceptional medical care to rural and medically underserved communities,” Sumner said. “We could not be more proud of the students who have chosen to dedicate themselves to this rigorous program of study so they can go where they are needed and provide quality health care and improve health outcomes in Georgia.”
Brandenburg is the daughter of Marla and Bryant Brandenburg and the granddaughter of Svanhilde Paradise.