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Pursuing medicine to target health disparities in the rural South and globally

Leveraging his experiences in rural Alabama and rural Mozambique, John Chancellor has committed his life to family medicine, rural primary care and mental health care while advocating for underserved groups.

John Chancellor, who is graduating with his MD from the Emory School of Medicine, is originally from Enterprise, Alabama, but has traveled the world.

“As a rural Alabama native, I am no stranger to homemade blackberry pie, warm greetings from barefooted children, or lingering, rocking-chair conversations,” says Chancellor. As an undergraduate, he studied neuroscience at the University of Alabama at Birmingham before joining the U.S. Peace Corps and serving as a biology and English teacher in Mozambique.

After witnessing health care disparities in the rural South and abroad, Chancellor decided to pursue medicine as a way to bridge that gap.

“John’s dedication to family medicine, rural primary care and mental health care; his ability to build communities through teaching; and his passionate advocacy for underserved groups will make him just the type of physician countless patients are searching for,” says Ryan D. Smith, an assistant professor in the School of Medicine who also serves as assistant director of the adult primary care clerkship and director of family medicine undergraduate medical education.

On Match Day, Chancellor discovered he will continue his training in family medicine and psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Emory really prepares you to train in a variety of environments, from a safety net hospital to an academic, university-affiliated hospital,” he says. “Going forward as a community physician, I will feel incredibly grateful for having the opportunity to train in such a spectrum of clinical settings.” 

Building a strong foundation

One of Chancellor’s favorite parts of medical school? The people he was with. Describing his classmates as “top-notch visionaries that are ready to build the most equitable systems for all,” he’s leaving Emory with lifelong friends — and a more refined vision of what he wants to accomplish in medicine.

Some of his favorite memories of Emory and Atlanta include walking while studying mobile flashcards in Emory’s Lullwater Park, bonding with his COVID Quarantine Crew, adding spontaneity to his clerkship year with concerts (anything from Ben Platt to Kid Cudi), watching “Schitt’s Creek” and “Love is Blind” with his roommates, and exploring the city’s best milkshakes and dance clubs.

Chancellor’s award of the 2023 Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Foundation Student Scholarship — which recognizes a strong commitment to academic family medicine through scholastic, volunteer and leadership pursuits — highlighted his strong potential for a career in academic medicine.

He is also a recipient of Emory’s Kathelen and Dan Amos Medical Student Loan Forgiveness Program, which improves access to primary care in Georgia by supporting Emory students who are willing to commit to primary care practice in the state.

“I would love to build my foundation as a physician here in Georgia, focusing on closing the care gap for individuals in the intersectionality of being medically underserved due to their geographic location as well as their sexual or gender identity,” says Chancellor.

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