ALBANY — Dr. C. Granville Simmons, an established educator and pediatrician from Southwest Georgia, has been named associate dean for the Southwest Georgia Clinical Campus of the Medical College of Georgia based in Albany, officials at MCG announced Friday.
“I’m thrilled about it,” Simmons said. “I’m excited and ready to get started.”
Simmons starts his new duties June 11.
The Georgia Health Sciences University MCG Southwest Georgia Clinical Campus, based at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, enables third- and fourth-year medical students to live and learn alongside area physicians. Established in 2005, it was the college’s first regional clinical campus in support of its mission to provide more physicians for the state.
In 2010, the campus received a residential status that lets students remain in the region for up two years.
“Granville’s knowledge of the individuals and institutions that constitute health care in Southwest Georgia coupled with his enthusiasm for medical education make him an ideal choice for this position,” said Dr. Linda Boyd, MCG associate dean for regional campus coordination, in a statement. “His leadership will help the campus expand quality learning opportunities for students and ensure that the physicians, clinics and hospitals that open their doors to our students are recognized for the invaluable role they play in the health of our state.”
Some of the plans Simmons has in mind for the campus includes increasing the number of clerkships available, increasing the number of electives available there, bringing more residency opportunities to the area, developing the campus as the choice for those focusing on primary care and rural medicine and building on the one-on-one time students spend with physicians.
“The Southwest Georgia campus is to not become a choice, but the choice,” he said.
Simmons has practiced pediatrics in the area for nearly 40 years. The 1973 graduate of MCG, who completed his pediatric residency at the Georgia Health Sciences Health System, has served as pediatric clerkship director for the Southwest Georgia campus since 2010 and as a pediatric preceptor for third-year students since 2005.
He also is a clinical preceptor for the physician assistant program at the University of St. Frances, Albuquerque, N.M., campus and for the licensed practical nurse, nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs at Albany State University, Georgia Southwestern State University, South University, Moultrie Technical College and East Central Technical College.
“Granville is an incredible role model and our students love him,” Boyd said. “He practices hands-on primary care in Tifton and its surrounding community, serving children and families from all backgrounds. He truly walks the walk and is the best person to lead our students into a life of service.”
Simmons founded his practice, Children’s Medical Center, PC, as a solo practitioner in 1983 and is now CEO of the group which includes five pediatricians, five nurse practitioners with offices in Tifton, Fitzgerald and Omega.
He will have to leave the practice to take the position at the campus, but he indicated it was worth it to him.
“I enjoy students and I enjoy teaching them,” Simmons said of his decision to apply. “It’s a way to impact students and impact the physician work force in the state. We just don’t need doctors, we need good doctors.
“There are 11 counties in the state with no doctor, and nine are in this area. We need to increase the pipeline. If they (the medical students) are exposed to the area, they are more likely to stay.”
He co-chairs the Committee on Rural Health of the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He earned a certificate in medical management from the American College of Physician Executives and a master’s degree in medical management from Tulane University.