South Georgia Insider

PCOM South Georgia: Developing a Physician Pipeline

June 09, 2021 Thressea H. Boyd, Host
South Georgia Insider
PCOM South Georgia: Developing a Physician Pipeline
Show Notes

In this episode,  we discuss the importance of developing a pipeline of physicians for Georgia with Dr. H. William Craver, dean and chief academic officer at the Osteopathic Medical Program at PCOM of South Georgia

Rural communities in Georgia, much like other states, are dealing with the issue of not having enough physicians and access to medical care at an alarming rate. In a recent study, within Georgia's 159 counties, 14 are without a physician. 

In terms of the disparity of medical care, Craver says, there was a great deal of discussion regarding PCOM making a commitment to establish a medical college in the South Georgia region. 

Representatives from Colquitt Regional Medical Center, Moultrie-Colquitt County Development Authority, City of Moultrie, and Colquitt County approached leadership from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) regarding the feasibility of establishing a medical college in South Georgia.

Craver says establishing a four-year medical college in South Georgia demonstrates PCOM's commitment to primary care and the value of providing healthcare professionals in rural communities. 

He explains that a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) is a fully qualified physician licensed to practice medicine in the United States. Practicing from a state of wellness, DOs practice what Craver says is a "whole person" approach that looks at all aspects of healthcare. 

Located in Moultrie and Colquitt County, PCOM of South Georgia sits on a 31-acre site that includes a 75,000-square-foot facility completed in August 2019. The inaugural class of 59 DO students is scheduled to graduate in spring 2023. 

During the first two years, DO students are engaged in classroom instruction, followed by clinical clerkships in the third and fourth years. After graduating with a DO, the physicians begin their residency, ideally within rural communities. 

Craver says PCOM South Georgia is very interested in recruiting students from the region. "Our next area of interest is students who are truly dedicated to underserved medicine. Our hope, of course, is primarily underserved in a rural environment."

He further explains that the "underserved" could represent parts of a metropolitan area. 

Studies have shown that 50 to 70 percent of physicians will practice medicine within a hundred miles of where they did their residency. 

Within Georgia's 159 counties, 120 are considered rural. The state has 25,677 physicians; however, less than 8 percent practice in rural communities. 

Join us next time as we continue to promote South Georgia as a great place to live, work, play, and visit.

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South Georgia Insider is produced by Spencer Van Horn, Smalltown Broadcasting.