The Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University is expanding its home base in Augusta and across the state to meet the physician needs of the state and nation.
The expansive and largely rural state is among the top 10 states in the nation for population size and growth yet ranks 41st in the number of active physicians per 100,000 population, according to the 2011 State Physician Data Book of the Association of American Medical Colleges. The physician shortage is exacerbated by the reality that, like the general population, Georgia's physicians are aging with the state ranking 45th in the percentage of active physicians age 60 and older.
To help address this important health care need, in 2006 the AAMC called for a 30 percent increase in medical school enrollment. By that time, MCG already had opened its first clinical campus – the Southwest Georgia Clinical Campus based at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Ga., - to enhance off-site clinical experiences for third- and fourth-year students. The Southwest campus is strategically located in a relatively rural area of the state where physician shortages are most acute. Data confirm that physicians who come from and/or train in rural areas are more likely to practice in rural areas.
In 2007, MCG announced the Southeast Georgia Clinical Campus based at St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System in Savannah and the Southeast Georgia Health System in Brunswick.
In January 2008, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents accepted a medical education expansion plan for the state calling for the university’s medical college to expand statewide to a total of 1,200 students, a 60 percent increase, by 2020.
The first 40 freshman students started at the four-year GHSU/UGA Medical Partnership in fall 2010. This enabled growth of MCG’s class size from 190 to 230 students. Later that fall, officials from Rome, Ga., and GHSU announced establishment of the Northwest Georgia Clinical Campus which will be operational by 2013.
Today MCG's diverse educational clinical experiences include about 100 urban and rural sites across Georgia where students experience the full spectrum of medicine: from a complex care hospital to a small town solo practice.
At the current class size of 230 students, MCG has the nation’s tenth largest medical school class and Georgia’s largest.
The college is securing resources to increase its class size in Augusta to 240 and in Athens to 60 by 2020. The university is moving toward construction of a new Education Commons and recruiting more faculty to enable growth of MCG's class in Augusta to 240 by 2020.
Interest in Georgia's public medical school appears strong, with a 10 percent increase in applicants – 2,384 applicants for the 230 positions – compared with the national 2.6 percent average increase for fall 2012.