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Mercer, Piedmont Healthcare to Offer Atlanta's First Family Therapy Master's

June 26, 2007

Media Contacts:
Richard L. Cameron
(478) 301-5500

Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037 or
(800) 837-2911

MACON — Mercer University School of Medicine is partnering with Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta to offer its Master of Family Therapy (MFT) degree program in Atlanta, beginning this fall. Recipients of The Master of Family Therapy degree will be eligible to apply to the state of Georgia for licensure for the independent practice of family therapy.


Atlanta is one of the few major metropolitan areas without a master’s level family therapy degree accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). Concerned about this deficit, the Georgia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy made establishing such a program into the Atlanta area one of its major goals for several years, according to Dr. Martin Dalton, dean of the Mercer School of Medicine.  


“Our partnership with Piedmont Healthcare through the Center for Health and Learning is now enabling us to say ‘yes’ to that request,” explained the Dean. 


The Mercer School of Medicine has the first master’s degree program in Georgia to receive the prestigious full accreditation of the COAMFTE. With a strong biopsychosocial emphasis, the Mercer MFT program is one of only two programs in the nation to be embedded in a medical school. Mercer recently added a post-graduate Certificate in Medical Family Therapy program. MFT graduates enrolled in this program are trained to work as part of collaborative health care teams with families and individuals affected by serious or chronic illness.


The Atlanta program will be an extension of the existing Macon program, with continued administrative oversight from the Macon campus.  


Steve Livingston, Ph.D., is the assistant director for the MFT Program in Atlanta. Livingston previously served as associate professor of Marriage and Family and Mental Health Counseling, at Barry University in Orlando, Fla. He holds a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy, a master’s degree in Counseling and Human Systems and a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Florida State University.


Classes will begin Sept. 18.  To be considered for admission, applicants should hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, with an overall undergraduate grade-point average of at least 2.50 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants must have completed one course each in Personality Theory and Psychopathology (Abnormal Psychology) and must have satisfactory results on either the GRE or MAT. 


“We are quite proud of the uniqueness of our Marriage and Family Therapy program. We emphasize that patients have bodies, minds and families,” said Dr. Melton Strozier, chair and professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Mercer School of Medicine. “This program is recognized nationally and internationally for its unique approach. As we expand our program in the metro Atlanta area, we are proud to become associated with an organization like Piedmont Healthcare.”


“Piedmont is pleased to be part of meeting this community need by providing a training environment for students in the Marriage and Family Therapy program,” said Michele M. Molden, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Piedmont Healthcare. “Our Center for Health and Learning partnership with Mercer University aims to further the education of students interested in pursuing healthcare-related degrees and to supplement the work force of the future.”


For more information about the MFT program, visit the Mercer Web site at


About the Center for Health and Learning:

In 2005, Piedmont Healthcare and Mercer University formed a partnership to create a number of joint initiatives, including nursing, pharmacy, research and other medical and allied health education programs as part of a Center for Health and Learning. While the partnership is not exclusive, both institutions have identified potential areas of collaboration. Piedmont Healthcare aims to enhance its teaching environment and expand on-campus research that is focused on outcomes and improved patient care.  Piedmont also seeks increased access to students and potential employees in nursing, pharmacy and other allied health fields.  Long-term, Piedmont hopes to establish unique hospital/university integrated programs. Mercer University seeks to establish a more vigorous research presence and to deepen program offerings in nursing and pharmacy.  Mercer also expects to broaden its medical residency program.  In addition, Mercer aims to broaden its non-clinical education programs, such as chaplaincy, health management and health law.  One of the first initiatives of the Center was the establishment of the Piedmont Nursing Scholars in 2005. Designed to address the critical shortage of nurses in Georgia, the Piedmont Nursing Scholars program is helping to recruit, educate and ultimately place more nurses at Piedmont and in the community at large.   

About Piedmont Healthcare:

Piedmont Healthcare, a not-for-profit organization, is the parent company of Piedmont Hospital, a 458-bed acute tertiary care facility in the north Atlanta community of Buckhead, offering all major medical, surgical and diagnostic services, a recipient of the 2006 and 2007 Distinguished Hospital Award for Patient SafetyTM according to HealthGrades  (a leading healthcare ratings company) and one of the nation's Most Wired hospitals in the 2006, 2005 and 2004 Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study; Piedmont Fayette Hospital, a 106-bed acute care community hospital in Fayetteville, named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® for the fourth year in a row and one of the nation’s Most Wired hospitals; Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, a 35-bed community hospital in Jasper and named the 2006 Hospital of the Year by the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals; Piedmont Newnan Hospital, a 143-bed community hospital in Coweta County;  the Piedmont Hospital Foundation; the Piedmont Physicians Group, with more than 75 primary care physicians in 21 offices throughout metro Atlanta; and the Piedmont Clinic, a 524-member physician network. For more information, visit .


About Mercer University:

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit


About the Mercer School of Medicine:

Mercer University’s School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. The School only accepts Georgia residents into its doctor of medicine degree program. The Mercer University School of Medicine utilizes a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. The academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. In addition to the doctor of medicine degree, the school offers three master’s degree programs: master of family therapy, master of public health and master of science in anesthesia.

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