A new initiative at the Mercer University School of Medicine conceived by a retired federal judge from the Northern District of Georgia is seeking to help poor people in rural Georgia erase their medical debt.

The Mercer Family Cares Initiative, funded by three families with ties to the university, is retiring more than $4.3 million in medical debt for nearly 3,000 people who live in 33 Georgia counties, according to a news release from the university.