News 12 This Morning at 6 o'clock // Thursday, July 12, 2012
AUGUSTA, GA -- The state of Georgia is facing a critical shortage in the number of doctors. This, despite Georgia Health Sciences seeing an increase in the number of applicants wanting to attend the medical school. An aging population, more people moving to the state, and the health care law could flood the market with even more patients.
The only public medical school in Georgia saw a record number of students applying. Yet, the state ranks number 41 in the entire nation, when it comes to the number of doctors per capita. "We are under producing number of doctors to meet the health care needs of Georgians," said Dr. Peter F. Buckley, the dean of the Medical College of Georgia at GHSU.
The problem is worse for patients in rural parts of the state. That's why the school is ramping up efforts to train and keep more doctors inside Georgia's borders. "We've been engaged in an effort to create new residency position, particularly in general medicine," Dr. Buckley added.
He says doctors who train in the state are more likely to stay here. The school is also reaching out to students state-wide, through education at clinical training sites and regional clinical campuses. "We currently train 190 top students per class here in Augusta, and we have forty outstanding students in partnership with the University of Georgia in our Athens program."
Through the support of state lawmakers they're planning to partner with more hospitals to open up residency slots. "Bring new hospitals into the residency program development that haven't been involved before," Buckley said.
The school is also preparing to unveil a new Education Commons in 2014. "This will allow us to ultimately teach a class size of 300 medical students per class in what will be state of the art facilities," he added.
Responding to the national need of more doctors by increasing the number of medical students that train and practice in the state. The Medical College of Georgia is the tenth in the nation in terms of number of medical students they train. They saw a 10% increase in people applying to the school. A significant increase, considering across the county it was a 2.5% increase.
The campus in Athens which opened a couple of years ago helped increased overall class size. The students that enrolled at the Athens campus all started their clinical rotation through northeast Georgia this summer.
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