March 1, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---MCG is trying to ease the local concern about its plans to expand to Athens. They want to start a regional campus there, with room for 40 first year med students.
That plan isn't sitting well with leaders in Augusta, who wonder why the growth can't happen here.
I asked the president of MCG, Dr. Dan Rahn, that very question today. Our interview follows.
Dr. Dan Rahn: "We just don't think we have the patient and physician resources to be able to meet that much of an expansion."
Richard Rogers: "What do you want people to know about the Athens plan?"
DR: "The plan is to have a satellite campus of the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine. The students will be MCG students, they'll get an MCG degree, accreditation will be part of the Medical School accreditation...I think that's a lot of control."
RR: "Are there any plans to expand other parts of the Medical College here in Augusta?"
DR: "Well, we just opened the Health Sciences building, which houses nursing and health sciences.... The Board of Regents has approved a new facility for the Dental School and we are in the planning stages for that. That building will be here on the MCG campus."
RR: "You work for the Board of Regents...is this their decision, the governor's, or a combination?
DR: "The governor supports it, with funds in the budget. The regents support it, the chancellor supports it."
RR: "Predict the future for us. What's going to happen?"
DR: "I hope the funds we need will be in the final budget. We'll just have to wait and see if they are.... We had 2000 applicants last year to the School of Medicine for our 190 slots. We had to turn people away who were deemed qualified."
Dr. Rahn is quick to point out this is not a done deal. It won't happen without the cooperation of the hospitals in Athens.
Still, there are questions and concerns about all this here. That's why MCG has invited Augusta's mayor, city commissioners, and members of the local legislative delegation to a forum at the Medical College tomorrow.