Campus News

Good Prognosis

Medical Partnership Building1
Renovations to the Interim Medical Partnership Building at 297 Williams St. are wrapping up. Dr. Barbara Schuster

Medical College of Geogia, UGA move ahead wih 2010 opening of Athens campus

The Medical College of Georgia and UGA have received confirmation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the accrediting body for the country’s medical schools, that their resource development is on track to matriculate 40 medical students at the Athens campus in August 2010.

A letter from the LCME reaffirmed MCG School of Medicine’s accreditation through the 2015-16 cycle when the LCME is scheduled to make its next accreditation visit. The letter also confirmed that resources for the MCG/UGA Medical Partnership are adequate in some areas and, as expected, requested updates in others as progress continues, according to school officials.

Areas of LCME interest include sustained financial support for the expansion as well as faculty recruitment, facilities planning and academic advisement for students. School officials will provide the LCME with another update in August.

The LCME’s letter follows a limited site visit to Athens and Augusta in April and the accrediting body’s June 2-4 meeting in Washington, D.C.

“This confirmation by the LCME is the result we have been working so diligently these past months to obtain, and it is a testament to all involved that just
18 months after the board of regents approved a plan to expand medical education in Georgia, we have received this positive news,” said Erroll B. Davis Jr., chancellor of the University System of Georgia. “This strategic plan to increase the number of physicians in Georgia is of critical importance to our state and its citizens.”

“This action affirms the work currently under way to build the faculty, prepare the facilities and shape the academic program for future medical students,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams.

The MCG School of Medicine will begin accepting applications this month for the first class of
40 students at the MCG/UGA Medical Partnership for the 2010 fall semester. The additional students will boost the medical school’s class size to 230 students. UGA’s renovation of the Interim Medical Partnership Building is wrapping up and staff are scheduled to move in mid to late July.

The Athens campus, slated to grow to 60 students per class, is part of an overall plan to increase the MCG School of Medicine’s class size from 190 to 300 students by 2020 to help meet Georgia’s need for physicians. Georgia ranks ninth in the nation in both population and population growth, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and 44th in the number of physicians per capita, according to the American Medical Association.

The statewide plan also includes increasing the medical school class size in Augusta to 240, growth that will require larger facilities as the school’s home base. Simultaneous growth also is occurring at clinical campuses in Albany and Savannah.

About 30 new faculty members are being recruited and about a dozen have been hired to date for the Athens campus, according to Dr. Barbara Schuster, dean for the MCG/UGA Medical Partnership. The majority of the initial hires will have a primary appointment at MCG and an adjunct appointment at UGA; faculty members with a primary appointment at UGA will have an adjunct appointment at MCG. Existing faculty at both institutions will help with teaching as well, according to Schuster. Educators will fine tune the Athens campus curriculum during the next year.

The MCG School of Medicine Admissions Committee has increased from 18 to 25 members in the past two years to accommodate a larger class size and include representation from Athens, Savannah and Albany, according to Dr. Geoffrey Young, associate dean for admissions. School officials anticipate applicant numbers will increase as well; applicants to the MCG School of Medicine already have increased steadily during the past few years, from 1,612 for the 180 slots available in fall 2004, to 2,102 for 190 slots in fall 2008.

Interviewed applicants will be asked their preference for the Augusta or Athens campus. An admissions subcommittee will then make campus assignments.