ABAC Names Rural Studies Head, Launches Track in Community Health

October 31, 2019

TIFTON– With the naming of Dr. Adrian Israel Martinez-Franco as the new head of the Department of Rural Studies, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is launching a new Community Health track in the Rural Community Development bachelor’s degree program.

Dr. Matthew Anderson, Dean of ABAC’s School of Arts and Sciences, believes the appointment of Martinez-Franco and the new Community Health program will have far reaching implications for ABAC students.

“We are very excited that Dr. Martinez-Franco will be joining ABAC in this role,” Anderson said.  “I am confident that the Department of Rural Studies will thrive under his leadership, and students graduating from the programs will leave ABAC with the skills and knowledge to make a positive impact on the communities of rural Georgia and beyond.

“The Community Health track is designed to prepare individuals for a variety of roles in the rapidly growing healthcare field.  As the healthcare industry expands, it will require not only clinical practitioners providing direct care to patients but also many healthcare professionals working in a variety of support and administrative roles.”

Anderson said that students pursuing the Community Health track will be prepared to fill a critical healthcare need and will be ready to work in private business, industry, community organizations, and healthcare settings upon graduation from ABAC.

Martinez-Franco holds a master’s degree in Health Systems Management and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He has also held a faculty appointment at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and served as head of its Biomedical Informatics Department.

In recent years, Martinez-Franco has served as a Fulbright Scholar in Residence at ABAC.  He will assume his Rural Studies department head duties on Nov. 1.

“It is an honor for me to continue serving the ABAC community,” Martinez-Franco said. “This is a perfect fit to continue my career.  Since I was a medical student the focus of my training has been community development and the preventive model of attention.”

Given ABAC’s emphasis on student-focused pedagogy, and the Rural Studies Department’s specific focus and interdisciplinary nature, Martinez-Franco is indeed likely to find himself at home in his new role.

“I discovered a passion for teaching while I was a medical student, and I went full time into academia in 2010 when I left a position in the health system related to telemedicine in rural communities,” Martinez-Franco said.  “Since 2010 I have been working with interdisciplinary groups and developing different subject matter related to population health and health informatics.”

ABAC’s Department of Rural Studies is home to an interdisciplinary faculty with specializations in sociology, psychology, criminal justice, and now rural community health. The department offers a Rural Community Development B.S. degree that provides students the skills needed to create positive social, political, economic, and cultural changes in rural communities.