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MCG expansion plans advance

Faculty, students, curriculum lined up for campuses

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 ATLANTA - The expansion of medical education in Georgia is moving ahead, with admissions on pace, new campuses under development and a construction-management firm hired for classroom space in Augusta.

Development of the Medical College of Georgia's partnership with the University of Georgia is on schedule, Athens Campus Dean Barbara Schuster told members of the Board of Regents on Tuesday.

"It's beginning to feel like a school," she said, noting that the curriculum is coming together.

On Thursday the admissions committee assigned 12 students to the Athens campus from those who were granted acceptance to MCG.

They will join 13 others who gained early admission and had asked to attend that campus.

One student who was accepted for the previous year but delayed enrollment will also attend in Athens, bringing the class size to 26.

Chancellor Erroll Davis asked Schuster, "What is the risk of not having a full complement (of the 40 students expected)?"

"Zero," she replied.

Enough students will be accepted to MCG to fill all of the expanded seats in Augusta in addition to the available classroom seats in Athens.

The admissions committee is assigning students to make sure both campuses have a similar balance by race, gender and academic qualifications, Schuster said.

MCG is also reaching out in other ways as part of its expansion from 190 students to 230.

It is close to hiring an associate dean for the Athens campus who will work with hospitals there and in Gainesville to develop the hands-on instruction students will get during their residencies after graduation.

And it has hired an associate dean for curriculum to line up clinical instruction for third- and fourth-year students who will be based in Savannah or Brunswick.

Savannah and Brunswick will develop a campus for those students, just as Albany has and Rome is considering.

The Albany campus opens in July with 17 students, nearly twice the number originally planned because interest has been higher than expected.

In addition to working beside doctors, the students in Albany will also have the chance to participate in a 12-month course on physician leadership that aims to equip them to become advocates in whatever community they practice.

"It has been observed by some that physicians are not as active in the community as they could be because of their careers," said Dr. Doug Miller, the dean of the MCG School of Medicine.

During Tuesday's monthly meeting, the regents approved a contract with the construction management firm Gleeds' Atlanta office to oversee planning and eventual construction of a $105 million classroom building on the Augusta campus that will be shared by the medical and dental schools. It will be called the Medical Commons.

The regents also approved a six-month renewal of the annual contract with MCG Health Inc. to operate the hospital and clinics there.

MCG Health is a separate legal entity created in 2000 to maximize some savings that would not have been available had the school continued to run the facility.

A committee is discussing a restructuring of the arrangement that will be the basis of the agreement for the next 10 years.

Davis said the details would be ready for the regents and the attorney general to comment on by April, well before the underlying contract expires June 30.

Comments (21) Add comment
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Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 02/10/10 - 05:59 am
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Well, this is the begining of

Well, this is the begining of the end I think. If given a choice, who would choose Augusta over Athens? Too bad our State level elected officials are in the minority party and too weak to prevent MCG from being moved to Athens. Oh sure, you all will say, 'But Brad, you are just being paranoid and alarmist'...just wait, you will see a HUGE shift to the Athens campus take place as long as the GOP controls the Statehouse and Augusta continues its march down the road to Democratic oblivion.

jb1234
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jb1234 02/10/10 - 09:53 am
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I've got a bad feeling about

I've got a bad feeling about this, if the Augusta campus is phased out, the city might as well throw in the towel.

countyman
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countyman 02/10/10 - 10:23 am
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If you only knew what's

If you only knew what's happening in Augusta.

The MCG dental school in Augusta has 45 students and will have 100 students in 2012. The Augusta Medical school has 190 students and will have 240 in 2012. The Athens medical school will have 26 students and then grow to 50 students.

There is a $112 million School of Dentistry under construction in Augusta. A $112 million School of Medicine, $105 million Educational Commons, and $32 million Outpatient Center start construction later this year and early 2011. MCG is also building a four acre 150 room student dorm on Laney Walker and Druid Park. The old student housing off 15th street will be demolished. The land will be used for future MCG projects.

MCG just opened a new $31 million Cancer Center
http://www.wrdw.com/home/headlines/83682972.html

Chillen
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Chillen 02/10/10 - 10:20 am
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countryman I know you remain

countryman I know you remain optimistic about this and I really, really, really hope you are right but I honestly have a bad feeling about this. I think in 10-15 years Augustan's are going to be sitting around saying "how did this happen?"

Roycliff
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Roycliff 02/10/10 - 10:30 am
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The medical school is only

The medical school is only one part of MCG. Even if the medical school moved out of Augusta, MCG would continue. Why all the fear of Athens?
Why no concerns about Savannah, Albany and Rome? They will all have medical education campuses. The medical school is expanding statewide, it is not leaving Augusta. The campus in Augusta will always be the mothership.

countyman
20120
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countyman 02/10/10 - 10:44 am
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It's not even close in the

It's not even close in the size of the campuses. The Athens, Savannah, and Albany campuses are small satellite campuses. Augusta's medical school has 190 students and will grow to 240. The Athens campus will have 26 students and grow to 50. MCG in Augusta is close to $2 billion towards the local economy.

Look at the Medical District growth timeline. 2008-2012
http://www.metrospirit.com/index.php?cat=121304064644348&z_Issue_ID=1102...

2009-2010... $112 million Dental School under construction. Opens 2012

2010-2011... construction starts on the $112 million Medical School and $105 million Educational Commons, and 150 room student dorm on the old Fatmans property.

2011-2012....After construction of the new student housing, MCG will demolish the old residences along 15th Street. That property will then become available for expansion.

When the new dental school is occupied, the old dental school at the corner of 15th and Laney Walker can be renovated into new office and instructional facilities.

Renovations for the Pavilion buildings along Laney Walker.

Roycliff
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Roycliff 02/10/10 - 10:38 am
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Countyman: Rahn is long gone

Countyman: Rahn is long gone to Arkansas. The Athens campus will have 40 students when it opens, not 26 and it will grow to 60 per class eventually.

countyman
20120
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countyman 02/10/10 - 10:45 am
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Yeah you right. It will have

Yeah you right. It will have 40 to start off with. But i agree with you how these are small campuses compared to Augusta. 60 students in Athens compared to 240 in Augusta.

Chillen
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Chillen 02/10/10 - 10:53 am
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I don't know if roycliff's

I don't know if roycliff's stats are correct but 60 per class would be 240 total if medical school is 4 years.

countyman
20120
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countyman 02/10/10 - 11:58 am
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Chillen.. Augusta: 190

Chillen..

Augusta: 190 students and increase to 240 per class.

Athens: 40 students and increase to 60 per class.

Albany: 17 students per class.

No mention on the Savannah or Brunswick campuses.

These are very small compared to Augusta.

Riverman1
83721
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Riverman1 02/10/10 - 12:29 pm
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Understand the difference in

Understand the difference in the Athens campus and the other, true satellite campuses, is that the Athens school is a four year deal. The others require most of their work to be done in Augusta. The Athens school is a full four year institution. It will demand more and more resources as time goes on. It will never equal MCG Augusta, but it will draw from future funding in an ever increasing manner. That's the real problem. If it is ever rated independent of MCG Augusta it will be the lowest rated medical school in the nation. Superior students will not be clamoring to go there. South Carolina fought this same battle years ago when USC wanted to start a medical school. They did, they drew funding from MUSC, yet they are still a bottom tier school decades later. By the way, I thought the article said Athens would begin with only 26 students, not the previously stated 40?

Riverman1
83721
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Riverman1 02/10/10 - 12:23 pm
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Let's ponder for a second if

Let's ponder for a second if they begin with the 26 students or even if they are able to find 40 as the original plan called for. We have hired an entire medical school faculty of physicians, PhD's, technicians and support staff for this school. These folks don't come cheap. UGA renovated a building to house the school, but they next intend to build another, much bigger oner. Imagine the cost of turning out these few students. Georgia is in financial trouble and trying to cut costs?

Chillen
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Chillen 02/10/10 - 12:33 pm
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Well, we'll see what happens

Well, we'll see what happens in the long run. Only time will tell. In the meantime, riverman is correct, what a waste of money. I don't see why they just couldn't have put those Athens students here, we have room to add 60 per year. Unless politics is involved or there is a bigger master plan behind the scenes or both.

Chillen
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Chillen 02/10/10 - 12:46 pm
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countryman 60 per class is

countryman 60 per class is 240 total once they have 4 years operating. If it only gets to 40 per class then they will only have 160.

I'm only pointing out that they will eventually have more than 60 total students, not that they will be equal in size to the Augusta campus. It's not as small a campus as it seems and should be taken seriously.

Roycliff
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Roycliff 02/10/10 - 02:15 pm
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Mercer School of Medicine has

Mercer School of Medicine has been enormously successful. It opened in 1982 with 24 students. The class size eventually grew to 60 but it took them over twenty years. Although they are expanding to Savannah, the main Macon campus is today the size that Athens will end up being. Nobody says the Macon campus of Mercer School of Medicine is too small or that it is a waste of money.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 02/10/10 - 03:36 pm
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Totally agree with your

Totally agree with your 11:23, Riverman. I have not read anything from anyone involved in these decisions that gives a justification for all this duplication. I don't long for Charles Walker by any means, but we might have needed someone with his power watching over us in all this.

Riverman1
83721
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Riverman1 02/10/10 - 03:52 pm
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Roycliff, check the national

Roycliff, check the national ratings of medical schools. Know where Mercer is now? Dead last in the entire country. On the other hand, their law school that has been there forever is considered a top tier one. Starting a new medical school is not easy even for a college as wealthy as Mercer University.

Roycliff
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Roycliff 02/10/10 - 03:57 pm
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What ratings? Are you

What ratings? Are you looking at the amount of grants? Mercer has been rated number one consistently in the percentage of students choosing primary care. What criteria are you looking at? The measure of a medical school is the quality of its graduates and Mercer students are always rated at the top of entering interns into resident programs.
Ask any residency director and they will attest that Mercer grads are among the most well prepared of all students entering residencies.

Again, what rankings are you looking at?

Riverman1
83721
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Riverman1 02/10/10 - 04:36 pm
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Roycliff, medical schools are

Roycliff, medical schools are ranked by three systems. NIH, MCAT and "mixed" rankings. Mercer was dead last in NIH grants, but has apparently chosen to not offer information in that category now. They rank near the bottom in the other two categories. Now keep in mind, I admire Mercer because it is a private school and their undergrad and law school are considered top tier. Here is a link for the rankings. http://www.studentdoc.com/med-ranks.php?ranktype=mix_rank

Roycliff
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Roycliff 02/10/10 - 04:54 pm
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Are the MCAT data reported

Are the MCAT data reported from one year or multiple years? When looking at average GPAs, Mercer has a higher average than many schools ranked above it. How predictable are MCATs to success in medical school? What are the rankings in Step I and II of USMLE?
Again, the proof is in the product and Mercer produces a superb product.
The top NIH schools do not typically provide the individualized attention that a student would receive at a small school. The least important criterion in terms of a quality medical education is the amount of NIH funding. Much of that is brought in by basic scientists who aren't going to teach doctoring skills.

Riverman1
83721
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Riverman1 02/10/10 - 08:07 pm
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Roycliff, I know some schools

Roycliff, I know some schools release their USMLE scores, but there is no ranking by score released. The conglomerate scores of all the students at a school are only reported to the particular school. But really this is off topic. One of my good friends is an anesthesiologist and a grad of Mercer Med. He is an outstanding physician recognized by his peers as as a very competent, easy to get along with professional. Besides all that, he's a good guy with loads of common sense.

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