GHSU plans to add 500 faculty jobs

ATLANTA — Georgia’s public medical school should grow its faculty by more than half to attract more research funding and gain national status, the school’s president announced Tuesday.

Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz told the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents that changing the school name from the Medical College of Georgia was just part of the strategy. The name change took effect Feb. 1.

He said he wants to boost gifts to the school to fund a building campaign to house the added faculty.

He would add 500 clinical and research professors over the next five to seven years to the 900 already on staff.

The school had fallen behind, he said, when compared to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, which was started at the same time as MCG and is housed in a similar-sized community.

While both have roughly the same number of students and patient beds, MUSC has a $146 million endowment compared to $91 million for the Augusta school. Plus, MUSC gets grants of $117 million yearly while Georgia Health Sciences only receives $47 million.

“When your philanthropy isn’t working very well, you can’t build many buildings,” he said.

Azziz’s goal is to make the school one of the top in the country and to make Augusta a top destination for “medical tourists.” And the name change was a first step in executing that strategy because it helps shed the school’s reputation as just a training ground and not a research center.

“I’m not interested in comparing ourselves to a peer group. I want to be compared to the leaders,” he said.

 Also during Tuesday’s committee meetings, the University of Georgia won permission to use $11 million of internal funds to renovate various buildings at the former U.S. Navy Supply School site to accommodate GHSU students attending school on  UGA’s expanded campus.

UGA took control of the Navy School site when the military closed the installation.

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