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MCG aims to expand class size with new building

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Despite a rapid rise in research funding and the amount of funding per scientist, Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine must adapt quickly to meet tremendous changes, the school's dean said Friday. It must also get a new building if it is going to meet targets for expanding medical education in Augusta, Dr. D. Douglas Miller said.

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To expand Augusta's class size to 240, the school would need to build a $100 million medical education commons.   Special
To expand Augusta's class size to 240, the school would need to build a $100 million medical education commons.

In his biannual State of the School address to the school's Faculty Senate, he outlined many of the changes over the past several years:

- An increase in outside research funding from $50 million in 2003 to a projected $100 million or more in 2010;

- An increase of funding per scientist, going from $76,360 per researcher in 1997, 81st in the country, to $312,154, 20th in the country in 2006;

- An increase in medical students from 180 per class in 2006 to 230 this year.

That growth, which includes 190 in Augusta, cannot expand any further in Augusta without a new medical education commons, Miller said. Under statewide medical education expansion plans, the Augusta campus is to expand up to 240 students per class, in addition to those in Athens, Savannah and Albany.

The school has secured $9 million for planning and design and has spent $6 million on plans so far, he said. The building, which could cost about $100 million, is on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents' list of capital requests, and the school would like to push in the fall to get it on the funded list, Miller said. The project is mentioned in the Tripp Umbach plan for medical education expansion that the Regents have broadly accepted, he noted.

"My understanding is that the regents are viewing this very seriously," Miller said. The school has also received an initial analysis of what it might be able to raise on its own, and $20 million is a good target for fundraising, he said.

Expanding medical education will be critical to meeting an expected shortage of 124,000 physicians by 2025. This will be even more critical in the Southeast. Georgia Power projects that 39 percent of the U.S. population will be concentrated in seven states by 2024, Miller said.

"We will feel this disproportionately in Georgia," he said.

But the state is not increasing a key aspect of medical education -- postgraduate residency training programs -- and physicians often practice in the area where they completed their residency, said Dr. Jack Yu, the section chief of plastic surgery at MCG.

Of this year's class, 20 percent are doing their residency in Georgia, Miller said. But the school sees about 54 percent of its graduates return to practice in Georgia at some point, he said.

"I do expect that students will always, whether their residencies are here or elsewhere in the country, will always find Georgia to be an attractive place to practice, just like we have," Miller said.

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Riverman1 05/15/10 - 07:22 am
Since we all now realize the

Since we all now realize the key to keeping physicians in Georgia is to increase residency training, why doesn't University Hospital have postgraduate programs?

Esctab 05/15/10 - 09:40 am
None of us are supposed to

None of us are supposed to remember that originally the expansion to Athens was to address the need for residencies and not an entirely new school of medicine. Since the expansion hasn't fixed the residency gap, maybe Mike Adams should pay for the next new roof in Augusta. But to be fair, maybe he should pay for only half and the new president can tell the new foundation to pay for the other half; afterall, what are partnerships for anyway? Students have paid for enough drain holes. In a pinch though, they can always be urged to write to their legistlators to beg for a another building.
Isn't MCG getting a new dental building? What will happen to the soon to be empty old building? Recycling of buildings works at other places - like UGA and an old navy building. Maybe as a stop gap until the economy turns around, the old dental building could fill the need for a roof over the heads of medical students. Just out of curiosity, how will a building address residency education? Doesn't most residency training occur in the clinic and at the bedside and in the operating room?

countyman 05/15/10 - 11:31 am
The Medical District is going

The Medical District is going through a boom... A $112 million School of Dentistry under construction in the MD. New student housing is being built across from Paine College. On the old fatmans property on Laney-Walker Boulevard.. Their is over $200 million going towards a Medical Educational Commons and the School of Medicine...

corgimom 05/16/10 - 03:57 pm
Countyman, I have to ask you.

Countyman, I have to ask you. With all the millions and millions of dollars that are supposedly pouring into Augusta, why is the poverty rate 23.9%? What are your thoughts on this?

Three weeks ago in the Charlotte Observer, there was an ongoing column about an Electrolux worker trying to sell their Evans home so that they can relocate to Charlotte. Gotta tell you, Countyman, they aren't seeing the boom either. They talked extensively about how they can't sell their home. Why is that?

Chillen 05/16/10 - 03:58 pm
We've got a couple of

We've got a couple of Electrolux folks in our neighborhood. None of their homes have sold. The real estate market has far from recovered - even in the Augusta metro area.

Electrolux should have stayed put. They have done quite a disservice to their employees.

Roycliff 05/18/10 - 02:46 pm
The two hospitals in Athens

The two hospitals in Athens and the one in Gainesville were supposed to form a "consortium" to provide residency programs. They will be needed before the first Athens class graduates in 2014. But the hospitals have yet to sign any kind of agreement even though they have been talking about residencies for several years. And it takes a couple of years of planning to get a residency accredited an up and running.
The hospitals want the residencies but are afraid of the costs. It is like each of the three hospitals is playing "you go first." This is not a good way to get started. It won't work unless all three make the plunge.

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