GHSU-University Hospital enhanced affiliation will enable enhanced research collaboration

By: From Georgia Health Sciences University
By: From Georgia Health Sciences University

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Georgia Health Sciences University and University Hospital have signed a five-year agreement that will help expand resident and medical student education.

GHSU and University Hospital announced in June their intention to strengthen their academic affiliation. The formal affiliation agreement is effective this month and the expanded programs should begin by July 2012.

"This is a significant agreement that expands our current relationship and begins with the all-important steps of putting more residents and students at University Hospital," said Dr. Ricardo Azziz, GHSU President and CEO of Georgia Health Sciences Health System. "We are grateful to University Health Care System CEO Jim Davis and Chief Medical Officer Bill Farr for enabling this progress. It is the right thing for our students and residents, our community, our state and the future of health care. It is a strategy that will help ensure the continued success of both institutions and which we hope will serve as a model for our community about the benefit of building bridges."

"We are excited that our hospital will resume a significant role in resident and medical education in our community and state," said Davis, President and CEO of University Health Care System. "We believe that working together will strengthen both institutions and ultimately the care our patients receive."

University Hospital, a 581-bed community not-for-profit hospital in Augusta, served as GHSU's primary teaching hospital from the university's founding in 1828 until GHSU opened its own hospital in 1956. Most recently only a handful of medical students and residents have gotten clinical experience at University Hospital.

Per the new agreement, the next three years will see an expansion in the number of GHSU residents training at University Hospital. By 2013, an estimated 32 residents will complete part of their training at University Hospital including 12 internal medicine residents, eight obstetrics and gynecology residents and 12 general surgery residents. By 2015, the total number of residents doing a portion of their training at University Hospital will increase to 48.

Each training program will have a community physician serving as a medical site director to facilitate training opportunities at University Hospital. Dr. Barry J. Jenkins, a general surgeon and colorectal surgeon who completed his surgical training at GHSU, is completing his third year as Director of surgical training at University Hospital. "Dr. Jenkins is a true community physician champion and excellent mentor for residents," said Dr. Walter Moore, GHSU Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education. Directors for internal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology must still be recruited along with a Director of Education to oversee the training programs at University Hospital as the number of residents increases.

The number of medical students training at University Hospital will be predicated upon the number of residents available to help supervise students doing multi-week clerkships in internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, neurology, ambulatory care, internal medicine and critical care medicine.

"This growth at home is a significant part of our continuing strategy to provide more physicians for our state," Azziz said. GHSU's Medical College of Georgia is expanding across the four corners of the state with three clinical campuses and a second four-year campus in Athens in partnership with the University of Georgia. Georgia currently ranks 44th in the nation in the number of physicians per capita. The university also is seeking support for a new Education Commons that will provide larger classroom space in Augusta for MCG as well as the College of Dental Medicine.

Additionally, the university is working to expand resident numbers including assisting Georgia hospitals interested in starting residency training programs.


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