MOULTRIE — With a greatly anticipated step in the accreditation process completed, the leadership team for the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine campus in Moultrie is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony that will take place on Aug. 6.

Gov. Brian Kemp has confirmed he will address attendees as the first four-year medical school in southwest Georgia opens its doors.

PCOM South Georgia consists of a 75,000-square-foot facility on a 31-acre campus led by 30 faculty and staff members. The campus will welcome 55 Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine students to an orientation on Aug. 5 with classes starting on Aug. 12.

Spending more than three years in the planning and construction stages, PCOM South Georgia is the culmination of a mission to bring more physicians to the area.

“We are very happy to be partnering in the region to bring our 120 years of experience in educating physicians and health sciences professionals to southwest Georgia,” Dr. Jay Feldstein, president and CEO of PCOM, said. “PCOM South Georgia is a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility designed by faculty, staff and students.

“It’s a showpiece, and we are all proud of what we’ve accomplished together with our partners. We are very pleased that Gov. Kemp will help us dedicate south Georgia’s new medical school, a school designed to help meet physician work force needs in rural Georgia.”

PCOM South Georgia is an additional location of PCOM and joins PCOM Georgia, located in Suwanee in metro Atlanta, as part of the health care work force solution for the state.

“We’ve designed PCOM South Georgia to be the region’s hometown medical school, and we look forward to working with all of our partners to build southwest Georgia’s physician work force,” Dr. Michael J. Sampson, PCOM South Georgia’s chief academic officer, said. “We invite the south Georgia community to come to our ribbon-cutting ceremony, tour our facility and meet our medical students. We are ready to educate the next generation of physicians for southwest Georgia.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. on the campus, located at 2050 Tallokas Road. Refreshments and tours will follow the ceremony, and a community open house will take place until 6 p.m.

Official actions to bring a campus to the southwest Georgia region began in October 2016 when a memorandum of agreement was signed that laid out a plan to begin the extensive accreditation process with the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, the college’s accrediting agency.

“The impact this medical school will have on the south Georgia region is going to be monumental. Our ability to reduce the physician shortage in rural areas and thereby meet the increasing health care needs of this population is going to improve,” Colquitt Regional Medical Center President and CEO Jim Matney said. “I am just overwhelmingly proud of all of the stakeholders who have come together to make this possible, and we are appreciative of PCOM for their willingness to step outside of the norm and place this campus in southwest Georgia.”

Matney also serves as the chair of the South Georgia Medical Education and Research Consortium, a partnership of five independent health care systems in south Georgia. The consortium was established in an effort to address health care access and physician planning through the development of a medical education pipeline and graduate medical education programs.

Hospital members of the consortium include Archbold Medical Center in Thomasville, Colquitt Regional, Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany, Tift Regional Health System in Tifton and South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta.

On June 25, evaluators from the AOA’s COCA visited the PCOM South Georgia campus, the final step in determining that all accreditation requirements are met to open the campus to students.

PCOM extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie. The institution offers a full four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree.

PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution that trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. For more information, visit www.pcom.edu or call (229) 798-4710.

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