MOULTRIE — A 2023 class was presented earlier this week by the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, which now has two campuses in Georgia, while those representing Moultrie and Colquitt County also formally introduced PCOM South Georgia, the first four-year medical school campus in south Georgia.

A ribbon-cutting on Tuesday drew attention well outside of PCOM South Georgia’s home base in Moultrie, including from Gov. Brian Kemp.

“Today is an exciting day for south Georgia as we celebrate the opening of this region’s first, four-year medical school,” Kemp said in a news release following the Tuesday ceremony. “This new program will make an immeasurable impact on the Peach State’s future by training critically needed doctors to care for our families and rebuild communities.

“This achievement is a direct result of thriving partnerships between state officials, the medical community and local leaders. Together, Georgia will continue to lead on health care and put patients first.”

Classes start Monday for 55 medical students beginning their path to becoming doctors. Located at 2050 Tallokas Road on a 31-acre plot of land donated to PCOM, the college is under the leadership of Vice Provost Dr. W. William Craver III, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Michael Sampson and Campus Officer Joanne Jones.

“This is a red-letter day,” PCOM President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jay Feldstein said before the budding physicians at the ceremony and an overflow crowd. “May you remain focused on the whole patient.

“Everyone in this room is invested in your success.”

Thirty-three faculty members have been readying the new campus, which was under construction for more than 400 days, for classes. Officials with PCOM said many regional physicians joined the team that will provide clinical supervision to the students during their third and fourth years.

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan also remarked on the medical education expansion, saying he is looking forward to seeing the long-term impact.

“All Georgians deserve a high-quality, affordable health care system that puts patients’ needs at the forefront,” Duncan said. “The development of the first, four-year medical school in south Georgia is one step toward ensuring that goal and keeping Georgia an innovative leader in health care.

“I look forward to watching the great benefits this facility will bring to the people of Moultrie and across south Georgia.”

Tuesday’s event even drew attention from the Georgia House of Representatives, specifically from Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge.

“Georgia remains committed to access to quality, affordable health care throughout our state, and training the next generation of physicians, nurses and health care professionals is essential to that goal,” Ralston said. “I want to applaud three members of our House leadership team from the area who helped make this announcement possible: Chairman Sam Watson, Chairman Jay Powell and Chairman Darlene Taylor.

“Their efforts, along with those of other state and local officials and our medical community, make clear we are growing jobs in rural Georgia that will benefit our entire state.”

Also participating in Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting festivities were PCOM Georgia Chief Campus Officer R. Bryan Ginn Jr., the Rev. Cornelius Porter with Greater Newton Grove Cathedral, Thomasville High School JROTC, PCOM South Georgia students, PCOM Board of Trustees Chairman John Kearney, South Georgia Medical Education and Research Consortium Chairman James Matney, Moultrie Mayor William McIntosh, Colquitt County Administrator Charles Cannon IV, Jones and Sampson.

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Staff Writer

I'm a 2007 graduate of Georgia Southern University, and I've been a reporter for The Albany Herald since 2008. I cover news related to health care, Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, SOWEGA Council on Aging and other areas as assigned.

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