University of Georgia to start a medical school

The University of Georgia plans to establish an independent medical school, a significant step for a state in the lower quartile for active physicians per capita. 

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents authorized the establishment of the UGA School of Medicine in Athens with a vote Feb. 13, according to the news release

The university has participated in the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership, a regional medical campus in Athens that began educating 40 Medical College of Georgia students per year in the fall of 2010. The University of Georgia notes that its new independent medical school will build on this work, and that regional medical-educational partnerships usually follow a "natural evolution" by transitioning to independent medical schools.  

The UGA School of Medicine is a significant step forward for Georgia, which is ranked No. 40 in the nation for the number of active patient care physicians per capita, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. 

The university said it will partner with local healthcare providers, rural hospitals and clinics to extend the school's impact throughout Georgia, and health systems throughout the state have already expressed eagerness to serve as clinical training sites. 

The school will make for Georgia's sixth medical school. The university did specify the expected timeline for the medical school's establishment or approximate class size in its initial release. 

"This is a very important decision by the Board of Regents and a historic moment for our state and university," UGA President Jere W. Morehead said. "As a land-grant and sea-grant research university, our commitment to Georgia is unwavering, and the new University of Georgia School of Medicine will expand our positive impact on Georgians in many critical ways. The School of Medicine will significantly expand the pool of medical professionals in Georgia, attract more top-tier scientists and researchers to the state, and produce more physicians to serve underserved and rural Georgia communities."

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