Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership Student Training

February 15, 2024
by Jere W. Morehead, President

This week, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents authorized the University of Georgia to establish an independent School of Medicine in Athens. As a land-grant university, and as Georgia’s flagship research institution, we are uniquely positioned to address the health care needs of our state through world-class medical education, research, and community outreach.

The need for more physicians in Georgia is critical. Surging population growth is straining Georgia’s health care infrastructure, while close to one-third of physicians in our state are nearing retirement. The UGA School of Medicine will have the potential to significantly expand the number of medical professionals in Georgia, improving wait times for medical services and enhancing access to care in rural and underserved communities. Its establishment will attract additional top-tier scientists and researchers to Georgia, advancing the world-class biomedical and life sciences research already underway on our campus. In addition, the School of Medicine will generate significant economic benefits, serving as a springboard for innovation, commercialization, and job growth throughout Georgia.

The School of Medicine is the natural evolution of the Augusta University/UGA Medical Partnership, which has been educating physicians in Athens since 2010, and will build upon the partnership’s remarkable success. The new school also will capitalize on synergies with the many UGA faculty who are engaged in research addressing critical issues in human health. The University of Georgia already receives the largest amount of NIH funding among all of Georgia’s public research universities and is the largest recipient of NIH funding among public universities without a medical school. Existing partnerships between UGA researchers and faculty at several other research universities and medical schools in the state also will be enhanced by the creation of a new medical school. From this foundation, the School of Medicine’s impact will radiate outward into communities across Georgia, drawing on our best-in-the-nation Public Service and Outreach units to partner with clinics, rural hospitals, and local health care providers.

I am deeply grateful to the Governor, the Chancellor, the Board of Regents, and so many other leaders from across the state for their vision and support of this transformative initiative, which will usher in a new era for our state and the University of Georgia. I look forward to embarking upon this exciting new chapter in UGA’s history alongside our outstanding faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends.