The Medical College of Georgia has a long and rich history and continues to play a critical role in shaping Augusta's growth and economy.
In 1822, a group of physicians received a charter from the state for the Augusta Medical Society. Their stated purposes included creating a school for the "enhancement of professionalism" and the "suppression of charlatanism."
The General Assembly granted a formal charter for the Medical Academy of Georgia in 1828, and the school began training physicians. Dr. Milton Antony and his pupil, Dr. Joseph Adams Eve, who had already been training students, were joined by two more physicians for a faculty of four.
In 1829, the academy's program was extended from one to two years and the name was changed to the Medical Institute of Georgia -- then to the Medical College of Georgia in 1833.
Land and financial support were given by Augusta and by the state. In 1835, the school moved into its first dedicated and free-standing academic building on Telfair Street. In 1913, the school moved to the renovated Tuttle-Newton Orphanage on the edge of town, and Augusta built a new city hospital nearby in 1915.
Financial support in the early days was mainly from lecture fees paid by the students. In 1873, an affiliation was made with the University of Georgia and the school became the Medical Department of the university. In 1911, the university took control of the property under a single board of trustees.
By 1928, when the school celebrated its 100th anniversary, the curriculum had been expanded to a four-year course.
The 1950s brought rapid changes. In 1950, the Board of Regents made the school an independent unit in the system, and for the sixth time in its history, the school's name was changed. It once again became the Medical College of Georgia.
With the opening of the Eugene Talmadge Memorial Hospital in 1956, the nursing program was moved from Athens and the School of Nursing was established. Master's degrees in medical art and in the basic sciences were first awarded in 1950.
The School of Graduate Studies was established in 1962 and the first Ph.D. was awarded in 1963. The School of Allied Health Sciences was established in 1968, followed by the School of Dentistry in 1969.
Today, the school is the 13th-oldest continuously operating medical school in the U.S. and has more than 2,500 students in five schools: Medicine, Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Graduate Studies and Nursing.
In addition to modern classrooms and laboratories, the institution includes the 540-bed MCG Medical Center, the Children's Medical Center, outpatient clinics, residence halls, a student center, a wellness center and a medical education library with more than 164,000 books and journals; and about 4,000 periodicals.
Today, the school is bolstered by Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics, its clinical arm. It delivers the most advanced medical care available and leads a team of physicians, nurses, therapists, pharmacists and others who are highly trained in their specialties and inpatient- and family-centered care. All of its physicians are board-certified or board-eligible.
The health system includes a 483-bed adult hospital, an ambulatory care center with more than 80 outpatient clinics in one setting, the Georgia Radiation Therapy Center and a specialized care center housing a 13-county Level I regional trauma center. The health system completed work on its $31 million outpatient Cancer Center this year.
MCG Health System's physicians also travel to more than 90 satellite clinics across the state and region.