A woman working in a lab
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Grant funding applications now open for Converge Symposium Collaborative

Following the third annual Converge International Rural Health Symposium, Neil J. MacKinnon, PhD, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Augusta University, and Zach Kelehear, EdD, vice provost for instruction and innovation, are excited to announce this year’s call for collaborative research proposals addressing issues in rural health.

Applications are open now through Feb. 1 for $10,000 grants for collaborative research projects.

Neil J. MacKinnon, PhD

“We had a tremendous response to our call for research projects in the first two years, and we were able to provide support to several collaborative partnerships that investigate issues around access to care, experiential learning and connectivity in rural communities,” MacKinnon said. “Since we announced the first round of grants, I have been impressed by both the number of collaborative projects that have been introduced and by the continued energy around Converge. The projects that have been presented and funded are not just one-offs. Each one has multiple layers making them sustainable for many years, and they will create a lasting impact on rural communities in the United States, Scotland and beyond.”

Zach Kelehear, EdD

“We continue to face challenges as we deliver health care to individuals living in remote or rural areas. And as the landscape of health care continues to be disruptive, solutions to these complex challenges require innovative and collaborative solutions,” Kelehear said. “It is in this context that the grants program seeks to support collaborative and innovative research that might offer improved access to care for our most distant citizens, whether they be in rural Georgia or rural Scotland. Indeed, this grants program reflects our university’s investment in rural health, and we look forward to supporting our research colleagues at Augusta University, Robert Gordon University, the University of Aberdeen and the University of Georgia.”

Each funded project must involve at least one partner from each side of the Atlantic, and those who are funded must agree to speak about their project at the fall 2024 Rural Health Symposium to be hosted virtually by the University of Aberdeen.


The Converge symposium is an annual event featuring rural health experts from AU, the UGA’s College of Pharmacy, Aberdeen and RGU. As a multidisciplinary conference, Converge was created to encourage joint research between the four universities, exchange programs for faculty and students and the possibility of joint certificates and degrees with a focus on rural health.

The following research projects were awarded grants from the Office of the Provost at AU following the 2022 Converge symposium and presented during the 2023 symposium.

  • “Using app-based digital healthcare intervention to encourage total skin self-examination by melanoma survivors,” submitted by Kendall Buchanan, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology at MCG, and Peter Murchie, PhD, a physician and professor of Primary Care at the University of Aberdeen
  • “How can hybrid healthcare education drive change in remote, rural, and island practice?” submitted by Denise Kornegay, associate dean and executive director of Area Health Education Centers at MCG, and Anita Laidlaw, director of the University of Aberdeen’s Center for Healthcare Education and Research
  • “Study of rural residents using urgent care and emergency departments for dental care: Examination of the relationship between visits to urgent care facilities and emergency departments due to non-traumatic dental conditions among residents of DHPSAs in the state of Georgia (GA) as well as Aberdeen and surrounding areas,” submitted by Travis McMaine, DMD, assistant professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Dental College of Georgia at AU, and Ekta Gupta, PhD, a lecturer for the Institute of Dentistry at the University of Aberdeen
  • “Maternal health-delayed antenatal care: Understanding barriers to care through the perspectives of new mothers who experienced delayed antenatal care in rural Georgia and rural Scotland,” submitted by Preethi Reddi, a student at MCG and Joanna Shim, a research fellow at Robert Gordon University

Any individual or group from AU, UGA’s College of Pharmacy, the University of Aberdeen or Robert Gordon University is invited to develop joint applications. The research projects can focus on, but are not limited to, clinical practice, health care delivery, research in rural health context, education for rural health care, and artistic representation from a rural perspective.

The Office of the Provost at AU will assign a Converge Application Review Committee for application review and award decisions. Awards granted will be managed by AU’s Department of Sponsored Programs Administration. Applicants will be notified of award decisions by April 2024.

The official application can be found on Augusta University intramural grant funding and limited submission opportunities webpage, InfoReady.

Eligibility criteria for the grant funding are as follows:

  • Applications must have at least one principal investigator (PI) from AU or UGA and one from Aberdeen or RGU.
  • The PI, if from AU, must hold a faculty appointment in one of the 11 colleges or schools at AU.
  • For each award where there is no PI from AU, the application must identify at least one AU employee to serve as administrator for financial accounting.
  • Funded researchers must agree to present, either in person or virtually, completed or emerging outcomes at the Fall 2024 Rural Health Symposium to be hosted by Aberdeen.
  • Preference will go to those faculty and staff members who participated in the 2023 Converge Rural Health Symposium.
  • Additional administrative requirements may apply for proposed clinical studies that engage human subject research.
  • Activity for which funding is requested must be completed between April 1, 2024 and June 30, 2025.
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
man with glasses standing in front of blue background
Written by
Milledge Austin

Milledge Austin is a senior communications and marketing strategist for Communications and Marketing at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at miaustin@augusta.edu.

View all articles
man with glasses standing in front of blue background Written by Milledge Austin

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

graphic that says download jag mobile with icon buttons below that say download on app store and download on google play with a picture of a phone