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GRU, ASU to explore partnership for health education

ALBANY, Ga. -- Georgia Regents University and Albany State University are exploring plans to establish a health professions program in Albany.

The GRU College of Allied Health Sciences and the College of Sciences & Health Professions at ASU will collaborate with a goal of producing more diverse physician assistants to serve Georgia residents.

As a first step, officials from both universities will work together to further explore plans to expand educational opportunities for students in Southwest Georgia.

"As the state's academic medical center, we are committed to the expansion of health professions education and workforce development for the state of Georgia," said GRU President Ricardo Azziz. "The potential of this type of relationship would allow us to leverage our combined academic and clinical resources to produce more health professionals for the region and better serve the citizens of Southwest Georgia."

ASU President Everette Freeman was excited about the possible partnership.

"This relationship brings great potential to expand our academic portfolio, to produce better trained African-American physician assistants for our city and for our state," said Freeman. "As one of the nation's historically black institutions, my hope is that this collaboration may, someday assist in the creation of a more diverse workforce for Georgia and a better experience for our students."

Albany is also headquarters for the Georgia Regents University, Medical College of Georgia Southwest Campus satellite medical campus, which provides residency training for third- and fourth-year medical students in partnership with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

Established in 2010, the medical campus is part of the university's strategy to address the statewide physician shortage.

Georgia Regents University is one of four public comprehensive research universities in the state with nearly 10,000 students enrolled in its nine colleges, which include the Medical College of Georgia -- the nation's 13th-oldest medical school -- the nationally-ranked Hull College of Business and Georgia's only College of Dental Medicine.

The clinical enterprise associated with the university includes the 478-bed Georgia Regents Medical Center and the 154-bed Children's Hospital of Georgia.