Jean Rawlings Sumner, M.D., F.A.C.P., dean of Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM), has always cared deeply about the health of rural communities. A third-generation Georgia physician, Dr. Sumner has served in rural Georgia most of her career, practicing medicine in Washington and Johnson counties before becoming dean in 2016.

Dr. Sumner came to MUSM as a community faculty preceptor in 1989, became associate dean for rural health in 2014, and has held a succession of leadership positions over the years. She has served as hospital chief of staff and nursing home medical director, as well as a board member, chair, and president of numerous community and statewide professional organizations. At the state level, she served as a governor-appointed member, then president and medical director of the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

In 2020, Dr. Sumner received the Ralph O. Claypoole Sr. Memorial Award from the American College of Physicians—the first Georgian to receive the prestigious award. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Dr. Sumner received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing from the Medical College of Georgia and completed her medical degree at Mercer University School of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency at the Medical Center of Central Georgia (now Atrium Health Navicent).

She is married to Joe Sumner, a pharmacist, and they have two children and four granddaughters. Dr. Sumner enjoys raising chickens, fishing, art, and creating pottery.