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Frequently asked questions

The Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership is addressing the critical shortage of physicians in Georgia and expanding research partnerships between the two institutions. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the partnership.

What is the AU/UGA Medical Partnership?

The AU/UGA Medical Partnership is a collaborative effort between Augusta University and the University of Georgia that is addressing the critical shortage of physicians in the state. The partnership established a campus in Athens that began educating 40 medical students per year starting in the fall of 2010.

Why have AU and UGA partnered?

The partnership is the most viable and affordable strategy for addressing Georgia’s shortage of physicians, with each institution bringing its expertise. According to consulting firm Tripp Umbach, the synergies between AU and UGA make the cost of educating medical students in Athens the lowest in the nation – approximately half the average cost per student for U.S. medical schools.

How many students study in Athens?

The first class of 40 medical students began classes in August 2010. By 2020, the AU/UGA Medical Partnership is expected to educate 60 new students per year – for a total of 240 students – in Athens.

When did the first medical students enroll in Athens?

The first class of medical students in Athens enrolled in classes in August 2010 and graduated in May 2014.

Where can I find admissions information?

Students interested in attending the AU/UGA Medical Partnership in Athens can apply through the AU Medical College of Georgia Office of Admissions.

Where can I learn more about financial aid?

The AU Office of Student Financial Aid is dedicated to providing guidance and assistance for students to help ease the financial burdens associated with their education.

Where are clerkship sites located?

Third- and fourth-year clerkships for students from the Athens campus are located at private practices, community clinics and hospitals in counties across northeast Georgia, including Hall, Jackson, Gwinnett, Barrow, Dekalb, Clayton, Newton, Oconee, Clarke, Madison, Elbert, Habersham, and Stephens counties. Affiliated hospitals include Athens Regional Medical Center, St. Mary's Health Care System, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Barrow Regional Medical Center, Clearview Medical Center, Elbert Memorial Hospital, as well as hospitals in the Greater Atlanta area including the Shepherd Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Gwinnett Medical Center, and Eastside Medical Center.

Who governs the AU/UGA Medical Partnership?

The medical education program in Athens is operated under joint governance by AU and UGA. The campus dean of the Athens program, Dr. Michelle "Shelley" Nuss, reports to AU Medical College of Georgia Interim Dean Dr. David C. Hess with accountability to Dr. Pamela Whitten, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Georgia.  

What is the accreditation status of the Athens program?

The Athens program was established under AU’s accreditation and AU will have the lead responsibility in governance issues pertaining directly to accreditation. AU is coordinating the program’s interactions with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the national body that determines accreditation of all allopathic medical programs.

Where are the facilities for medical education in Athens housed?

UGA has lead responsibility for identifying and developing appropriate facilities for the program in Athens. From the fall of 2010 to the summer of 2012, students were educated in the Interim Medical Partnership Building, a renovated historic building on the banks of the North Oconee River in Athens. In 2012, the Medical Partnership relocated to the UGA Health Sciences Campus, located on the 56-acre former U.S. Navy Supply Corps School property, located on the medical corridor of Prince Avenue in Athens. 

What is the history of the former Navy School Property in Athens?

The Navy Supply Corps School occupied a 56-acre site in Athens, which was designated for closure as part of the Navy’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process in 2005. That year, the Secretary of Defense recognized the Athens-Clarke County Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) as the sole authority for the development and reuse plan for the site. In 2007, the LRA voted unanimously to approve the UGA proposal to establish a health sciences campus at the site. The Navy vacated the site in early 2011, and a U.S. Department of Education official signed the public conveyance deed transfering the property to the University of Georgia. The UGA Health Sciences Campus will house the AU/UGA Medical Partnership and the UGA College of Public Health.

What are the economic costs of Georgia’s physician shortage?

Tripp Umbach, the nation’s leading medical education planning organization, estimates that a projected shortage of 1,500 primary care physicians in underserved areas would cost the State of Georgia $5.4 billion annually in delayed healthcare costs. According to Tripp Umbach, each physician that provides primary care in an underserved area saves the state $3.6 million annually for care that would have been provided in an emergency room. The full report can be found here.

What are the economic benefits of the partnership?

If implemented fully, the plan recommended by consulting firm Tripp Umbach will generate more than $1.6 billion additional dollars annually and support more than 10,000 additional jobs statewide. According to the report, every $1.00 invested by the State of Georgia in 2020 in medical education will result in a return of $2.54 in state tax revenue.

Tripp Umbach estimates that the regional economic impact of the Athens campus will be more than $567 million annually by 2020. The consultant’s report estimates that medical education, research and clinical expansion in Athens will support 3,000 new jobs and generate $17 million in local government revenue by 2020. Tripp Umbach also estimates that medical research growth in the Athens area will result in more than $180 million in commercial investment by 2020. The full report can be found here.

Contact us for more information

Jennifer Adams

Communications Specialist , Business Office and Office of Outreach and Communications

Winnie Davis Hall, 301