Time for a change: Keeping Medical College of Georgia students in Georgia

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019
News 12 First at Five

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Keeping Georgia trained doctors in Georgia has been an issue over the years. A new program at the states only public medical school is hoping to change that.

It's an accelerated program at the Medical College of Georgia and it's essentially shorter time spent in your studies and training.

"We train great doctors and we want to keep as many of those doctors in Georgia as possible," said Dr. Douglas Miller, the dean of medical education.

The typical percentage of MCG graduates that match in Georgia is 20%-30% and this year it was 25%

"There is a lot of communities that do need physicians in Georgia," said Sanam Patel, a third-year medical student.

Dr. Miller wants to see that number rise and he thinks he found the perfect way to do so.

"We've developed a new program which we call 3+3 which directs students into a three-year MD program and then immediately into a primary care residency, so they finish their training and then they're able to practice within 6 years," said Dr. Miller.

Putting them on the fast track and that is something this first-year student is on board with.

"I think it's going to be really appealing to a lot of people," said Oluwamayoku Oshinowo, a first-year medical student.

It'll keep students' pockets a little fuller with one less year of tuition and keep them local.

"I think it's a nice way to keep students in Georgia that's where I want to practice in the future, so I think it aligns well with MCG's goals kind of keeping people in Georgia and physicians for Georgia," said Patel.

Sanam Patel is in his 3rd year of medical school and says if this program was available when he first started med school, he'd be interested.

As a Georgia local himself, he sees the importance of keeping more doctors in the state.

"I'm from a small town in Georgia Lagrange and it would be nice to have more doctors stay at home," said Oshinowo.

Less schooling isn't the only incentive. The school wants to reimburse you if, in return, you work in an underserved Georgia community post-residency.

"Having the opportunity to have all that reimbursed, that's probably a blessing in disguise for a lot of people," said Oshinowo.

"There's a lot of student loans, most students I know take loans, I'm taking out loans right now so I think having the added incentive of helping out financially would be a huge help to students," said Patel.

“We'll begin to connect them with the primary care disciplines that their careers will be ending up in and we'll direct them into those communities for part of their training as well so they'll become familiar with the communities that they'll be going to work in,” said Dr. Miller.

It's not just about saving money but making a difference in underserved communities.