ALBANY, Ga. -- Scholarships are now being provided for up to 20 students at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University who opt to spend their third and fourth years of medical school in Southwest Georgia, officials at the institution say.
"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 GRU, in a news release.
The scholarships, officials say, are in keeping with an admissions priority to recruit more students from rural areas. Officials opted to focus scholarships on Southwest Georgia because the region as a whole 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 MCG Southwest Georgia campus, based at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, in July. The scholarships are funded through the MCG Office of the Dean, with other funding sources being pursued so scholarships will also be available for fourth-year students, Boyd said.
The Albany campus was established in 2005 as MCG's first regional clinical campus as a means to support the medical school's mission of providing more physicians for the state. In 2010, the campus received residential status -- which enabled up to 20 students to remain in the region, for at least the majority of, their third and fourth years.
"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. Additional clinical campuses are located in Savannah, Brunswick and Rome -- the latter of 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, officials say.