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  1. Turner, Nannette C. PhD, MPH
  2. Chen, Huey T. PhD
  3. Harvey, David MD
  4. Smith, Jimmie Jr MD, MPH
  5. Redding, Kimberly C. MD, MPH


Public health practice in Georgia and the North Central Health District 5.2 in particular is facing several challenges. In recent years, public health program funding in the state department and district has been cut or eliminated. Many public health workers are scheduled to retire in the next few years. Low pay also makes it difficult to attract and retain qualified applicants to local health departments. This has become increasingly challenging in an environment where experienced public health professionals are becoming limited. Furthermore, accredited public health programs such as Mercer University are expected to provide practical learning experiences for students. Mutual benefits have prompted the North Central Health District and the Public Health Program of Mercer University to enter into a formal partnership through an affiliation agreement to form the academic health department. This article discusses the logic model underlying the academic health department and lessons learned from its initial implementation.