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Fulbright Scholar at ABAC Shines Spotlight on Population Healthcare

October 5, 2017

As a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Adrian Israel Martinez-Franco is making his mark in the areas of population healthcare and rural health. In fact, he is teaching the first-ever population health class at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College this semester.

Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Martinez-Franco is no stranger to the United States.  He has studied in San Antonio and Houston, Texas, and Chicago, Ill.  He has also traveled to Canada, Italy, and Spain.

Martinez-Franco is not new to the ABAC campus, either.  In 2015, he was selected as a guest speaker during the annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration.  When he was selected as a Fulbright Scholar, he chose ABAC as his place to teach and do research.

The Fulbright Scholar program assists U.S. higher education institutions in expanding programs of academic exchange. By supporting non-U.S. scholars through grants for teaching at institutions that might not have a strong international component, both the U.S. institution and the Fulbright Scholar benefit. To learn more about effective teaching methods, visit

Martinez-Franco has developed a population health class as part of the community health track within the ABAC rural studies program, and it is a subject that ignites his passion for sharing his ideas in the classroom setting.

“Population health is a movement that began in 2008,” said Martinez-Franco.  “It has been gaining momentum and has developed so rapidly that there is now a College of Population Health in Philadelphia.”

The focus of population health is on healthcare quality and information, as well as preventative care. It is an approach that aims to improve the health of an entire human population and moves away from the corrective model of healthcare and instead favors the preventative medicine model.

Martinez-Franco is in the process of writing a textbook on the subject.  He is also an avid supporter of better healthcare in rural areas.

“I noticed there were differences in the wellness of people within rural areas, and that was concerning,” said Martinez-Franco.  “There is usually less access to the medical services needed in those areas. Telehealth has helped with that deficit, but the U.S. is still at a disadvantage.”

Martinez-Franco explains that while resources are greater in rural areas in the U.S. as opposed to other countries, there are always opportunities for improvement in rural America.

When he isn’t teaching, Martinez-Franco visits other ABAC classes and talks about the healthcare system in Mexico.  He hopes the population health course will become a staple in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences after his time at ABAC is complete.

“Dr. Martinez-Franco has really fit in well at ABAC,” Troy Spicer, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at ABAC, said.  “He hit the ground running with this new population health course we are offering in the rural studies community health track.”

A 2005 graduate of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) with his Master of Health Administration and his M.D. in medicine, Martinez-Franco became a part of UNAM’s faculty in 2010, teaching in the department of biomedical informatics.  He later was named Dean of Primary Care and Dean of the Biomedical Informatics Department from 2012-2016.

Martinez-Franco is married to Flor, who has a career as a cosmetic dentist.  They have two sons, four-year old Alejandro and 17-month old Edrick. They are living in Tifton during his time at ABAC.

“He and his wife are delightful people,” said Spicer.  “We are all getting a charge out of seeing them adjust from life in one of the largest cities in the world to life in rural Georgia. They are totally embracing the experience.”
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