Special to the Journal
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Scholarships are being provided for up to 20 students at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University who opt to spend their clinically intensive third and fourth years of medical school living and learning in Southwest Georgia.
“We believe these scholarships will be an additional incentive to our students to focus on the most medically underserved area of our state during their education and, hopefully, in their future practice,” said Dr. Linda Boyd, Associate Dean for Regional Campus Coordination at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.
The scholarships are in keeping with a medical college admissions’ priority to recruit more students from rural areas, Boyd said. MCG officials opted to focus scholarships on Southwest Georgia because the entire region is considered medically underserved and has some of the lowest overall health indicators in the state and nation, Boyd said.
The $4,000 one-time scholarship will be available for third-year students who start at the Southwest Campus in July. The scholarships are funded through the MCG Office of the Dean. Other funding sources are being pursued so scholarships also will be available for fourth-year students, Boyd said.
The Southwest Campus, based at Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany, was established in 2005 as MCG’s first regional clinical campus in support of the public medical school’s mission to provide more physicians for the state. In 2010, the campus received residential status that enables up to 20 students to remain in the region for their third and fourth years. Currently there are 15 and 14 students, respectively.
“Our students love southwest Georgia,” Boyd said. “In addition to getting a great education, they feel really welcome in the physician practices and hospitals. Our hospital partners are particularly gracious and generous. They see the students as the future of medicine in Georgia, which, of course, they are.”
MCG students have clinical training opportunities in approximately 135 sites across the state to experience the full spectrum of medicine, from tertiary/quaternary hospital care to small-town solo practices. Additional clinical campuses include the Southeast Campus based at St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System in Savannah and the Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick as well as the Northwest Campus, based in Rome, which will be fully operational this year. A second, four-year campus in Athens, the GHSU/UGA Medical Partnership, in cooperation with the University of Georgia, enabled class growth from 190 to 230 students in 2010. In 2014, GRU plans to open the J. Harold Harrison, M.D., Education Commons to accommodate a medical school class size of 300.