ALBANY — While being introduced to a new human resources director for Phoebe Putney Health System, the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board of Directors took action that will allow its Family Tree child development center to continue in a state program.

The board also received an update on what is happening with the Medical College of Georgia Southwest Campus.

Cassandra Haynes, the new system human resources director, began in her current position four months ago. She was introduced to the board by Tony Welch, chief human resources officer at Phoebe.

Dawn Benson, general counsel for Phoebe, brought before the hospital board an action item concerning the delegation of authority for the child and adult care food program for Family Tree, which is utilized by Phoebe employees.

The action essentially allows the center to remain in the program and for the new director to handle the documentation required to be a part of the program.

“It is a state requirement that the governing board approve the continued participation in Bright from the Start,” Benson said.

Dr. Doug Patten, associate dean of the MCG Southwest Campus, said among the developments at the campus are the introduction of a new three-year track that, through three pathways, can get medical students their degrees a year earlier.

He also said the annual bus tour that takes second-year MCG students to the school’s satellite campuses to help them decide on where to spend the last two years of their undergraduate medical education is coming to southwest Georgia. When it arrives next week, it will go to Tifton, then to Albany and Americus.

“People are stunned that such a small town could offer (what Americus does),” Patten said.

He said the students are also involved in community engagement, including the administration of flu shots. He further made note of the students’ relationships with other entities, such as the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy campus, also based in Albany.

The close proximity of pharmacy students and medical students allows for connections to form before they are needed in a professional setting.

“We are putting them together before they have to work together,” Patten said.

Phoebe Health System COO Joe Austin also gave a report to the board that included a recent engagement and patient safety survey that 3,356 Phoebe employees took part in, the results of which he said should be available soon. He also gave an update on community outreach efforts, which includes sports physicals and the Golden Key Club seminars conducted at Phoebe Northwest.

He also made note of a new 70 centimeterwide MRI machine that was installed at the Meredyth Place complex last month. An open house for the new piece of equipment is set for 5:30-7:30 p.m on Oct. 15.

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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