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GDC Partners With Mercer University School of Medicine

Timothy C. Ward
Director of Public Affairs: 
Joan Heath
Contact Name: 
Alyssa Kendrick
Contact Email:
July 19, 2022

GDC Partners With Mercer University School of Medicine
Health Literacy Program Provides Offenders with New Tools for Success

FORSYTH, GA. – The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has partnered with Mercer University School of Medicine to offer a volunteer-led initiative designed to provide health education literacy to the offender population. The Health, Education, and Literacy in Prison (HELP) program was developed by two third-year Mercer medical students and is currently being taught at Central State Prison (SP), with the first cohort consisting of eight offenders. The 5-week program covers common health topics such as blood pressure, mental and physical wellness, health communication, health insurance overview, and preventive care.

“Our goal is to provide returning citizens with the necessary knowledge that will allow them to easily renter into their communities upon release,” said Commissioner Timothy C. Ward. “Our partners at Mercer University School of Medicine have given the offenders another tool to assist them in their reentry process.”

The GDC recognizes that improving one’s health literacy contributes to an enhanced overall self-care and health status. Providing offenders health literacy knowledge allows them to prepare themselves better as they return to society. The agency and Mercer University School of Medicine will conduct three more courses this year at Central SP, with plans to expand the HELP program to more facilities across the state.


About the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC)
The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising approximately 47,000 state prisoners. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information on the GDC, call 478-992-5247 or visit

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