Athens Physician Shares Passion Through His Work

With the familiar beeping of hospital monitors and the pungent aroma of bleach circulating through the air, Dr. Brett Magner prepares for his 24-hour shift as the only doctor in a small, rural hospital in Rabun County, Georgia. The looming uncertainty of what might walk through those doors weighs heavy on his mind, but he remains determined to do the best job he can.

During a given week, Magner’s passion to serve others shows itself in many roles. Magner teaches as an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine with the UGA Medical Partnership when he isn’t working at the hospital. Coming from a family of teachers, he finds joy in educating students on clinical skills and what they can do with a career in Family Medicine.

Magner grew up in Griffin, Georgia, before attending Georgia State University for a degree in Biology. He worked at the Bio-Expression and Fermentation Facility in Athens before deciding he wanted to attend medical school at UGA. He joined UGA’s Medical Partnership, where he was a part of the second graduating class, and was assigned to Oregon Health and Science University with a focus in Family Medicine for his residency. After residency, he found his way back to Athens working as a family practice physician.

Filming videos with his drone and GoPro camera and biking trails in his free time, Magner does his best to avoid falling into a monotonous work schedule.

“I work with a new generation of physicians that are millennials, and we think a lot about work-life balance and how we want to spend our time,” said Magner. “ I know that I don’t want to spend my time only in one setting every day, so it’s nice to be able to transition to a few different things throughout the week.”

Outside of work, Magner enjoys letting his artistic side run free with film and photography side projects including promotional videos for companies and footage of cycling or backcountry snowboarding. He loves being outdoors, whether that’s riding his mountain bike or playing disc golf. He is also a part of an Athens coffee business that is currently in the process of opening a storefront. With a desire to try new things, Magner prioritizes time for his personal hobbies.

Magner skiing at Crater Lake National Park

“I used to work at the Medical Partnership, and he was a student when I worked there,” said Alison McCullick, Director of Community Relations at UGA. “I remember that he was just so impressive as a student because he had so many different interests, in addition to medicine.”

McCullick noted that she remembers him most by the photographs he captured when on a Medical Partnership trip in Ghana.

“He took amazing photos of what he experienced there in Africa and showed the children they helped care for in the village, and his pictures helped show his love for being able to care for people,”

said McCullick.
Magner helping a patient at a remote clinic in Ghana

With working long shifts at the hospital and teaching at the Medical Partnership, Magner is able to share his passion for rural medicine with others. He has been focusing on finding more of a work life balance but hopes to get back to working in a clinic. His current goal is to “eventually work in a residency program again and continue teaching.”

“A lot of times, most of the things I do are related to being around people, and I think that ties everything together,” said Magner. “When I’m out riding my bike, I like to do it with people. Being a physician, I like connecting with patients and being a part of the team. If we’re roasting coffee, it’s about serving people. So, I think I’m passionate about people and trying to bring people together.”