PCOM South Georgia hosts legislators

PCOM leadership met with Georgia legislators and regional partners to discuss state support. From left are Bryan Ginn, chief campus officer, PCOM Georgia; Charles White, Office of Congressman Austin Scott; state Sen. Dean Burke, Bainbridge; state Rep. Sam Watson, Moultrie; state Rep. Joe Campbell, Camilla; state Sen. Russ Goodman, Cogdell; Dr. Jay Feldstein, president and CEO, PCOM; Jodie Redding, Office of Governor Brian Kemp; state Rep. John LaHood, Valdosta; Joanne Jones, campus officer, PCOM South Georgia; and Dr. Bill Craver, dean and chief academic officer, PCOM South Georgia.

MOULTRIE, Ga. — PCOM South Georgia hosted regional legislators alongside Southern Regional Technical College and Colquitt Regional Medical Center in Moultrie on Dec. 15 at the Tallokas Road campus for an annual pre-legislative meeting. 

The college provided updates on campus life and academic programs and facilitated a conversation regarding recently requested state support and funding aimed at growing key programs at the college, according to a press release the college sent out on Tuesday.

Since opening in 2019, PCOM South Georgia has worked to establish local and regional partnerships. Jay Feldstein, DO ‘83, PCOM president and CEO highlighted these partnerships to the group during the legislative visit.

“Without these regional partnerships, our Moultrie campus would not have been possible,” he said, referring to regional healthcare centers and higher education institutions working with local elected leaders. “We need these partnerships to grow our student body and continue providing physicians to underserved areas.” 

Joining local legislators at the PCOM South Georgia campus were leaders from Colquitt Regional Medical Center and Southern Regional Technical College, two of the college's longtime partners in the region.

With the Moultrie community pledging an additional $4.85 million to support continued growth at PCOM South Georgia, the college also recently requested state funding and support. With these potential funds, the college would provide equity for students from Georgia who attend PCOM; expand the class size of the DO programs at PCOM South Georgia; create academic programs at PCOM South Georgia to address healthcare needs in the state and region; increase pathway programs to educate students from the South Georgia region; institute a Center for Rural Health Education to address disparities in health care and grow partnerships with health systems/providers to expand clinical access to underserved communities.

PCOM is the second largest medical school in the state by class size, enrolling nearly 200 osteopathic medical students each year at its two Georgia campuses in Suwanee and Moultrie. Nearly 1,450 PCOM alumni practice in 107 counties across the state with 197 PCOM alumni practicing in South Georgia, many providing primary and specialty care to rural Georgians. 

The college has created articulation and affiliation agreements with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Valdosta State University, Georgia Southern University, Albany State University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. These agreements provide undergraduate students the opportunity to fast-track their medical education by attending PCOM South Georgia and receiving credit for both the DO program and their undergraduate degree. Many PCOM South Georgia students come from the area and are graduates of Columbus State University, Albany State University, Fort Valley State University, ABAC, VSU and the University of Georgia. 

The college’s efforts reach even further, providing local high school students exposure to career opportunities in health care through pathway programs. 

“The entire PCOM South Georgia campus community has ingrained itself in the local area, creating pathway programs that allow local high school students to be mentored by DO students,” said William H. Craver III, DO ‘81, dean and chief academic officer. “These programs serve as a way to introduce rural, underserved populations to healthcare careers in South Georgia.” 

Joanne Jones, campus officer, said many students have led the way when it comes to volunteerism and community outreach.

“Our medical and graduate students have also taken it upon themselves, with the support of college leadership, to volunteer in the area through student-led club activities,” she said. “This includes donations to local nonprofits, health and wellness education and mentorship to local youth.” 

Additionally, the medical school has fostered working relationships with regional sites to provide research opportunities for students and faculty. The sites include Colquitt Regional Medical Center, VSU and UGA Tifton’s Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory. Clinical partnerships have also been established which allow DO students to complete their third- and fourth-year rotations in the area. Regional sites include Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton, Warner Robins, Albany and Valdosta. 

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