The Community Health Reporter Program completed its first year of implementation and was celebrated with a winter holiday appreciation event on Friday, December 9. Dr. Kedrick Williams, program coordinator, and Center staff applauded the work of the 53 individuals who serve as the community health reporters across the state.
At the event, the Center’s data team presented a virtual annual report including a summary of live data as provided by the reporters of health care sites, providers, and types of services offered in rural Georgia. Information collected by reporters was eye-opening, with one reporter commenting, “We have information that we can share with legislators and funders. One day, hopefully, we will be able to address the needs and get our hospital back in [our] county.” Another shared, “The fruits of the labor we have done over the last twelve months really do make a difference.”
Attendees enjoyed a full brunch catered by Mercer University and engaged in several interactive holiday games. Dr. Jean Sumner, Mercer University School of Medicine dean and principal investigator for the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center, offered high commendation to the reporters for their commitment and dedication to accomplishing an A+ for Accuracy for Access to Health Care! Glenda Grant, Center executive director, applauded the community health reporters for making great strides in contributing to positive change in access, policy, and health care in rural areas. Grant and Dr. Williams presented reporters with wrapped gifts and certificates of appreciation. Special recognition was given for the late Fred Gilder, who served the program faithfully as an inaugural reporter dedicated to Laurens County. His wife, Jeannie Gilder, and daughter Abby McAllister were presented with a special award in his honor.
Community Health Reporters cover 88 of Georgia’s 120 rural counties and bring a vast diversity of community and professional representation. Reporters have career backgrounds in public health, government, law enforcement, ministry, healthcare services, education, community development, and public service.
Twenty-one reporters were recruited, hired, and oriented as members of the third cohort in the fall of last year. They have been reviewing their counties’ data on health care sites and providers from the Center’s database. Currently, the Center has 18 territories not yet covered by community health reporters; 11 of these of are located in North Georgia. For a listing of these outstanding territories and to gain more information on the program and how you can apply, please click here.