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Active, small-group learning is an integral part of the student experience at the AU/UGA Medical Partnership.


The Augusta University and the University of Georgia have partnered to create a four-year medical education program in Athens to help alleviate a statewide shortage of physicians that threatens the health of Georgians.  With a class size of 40, the Medical Partnership students work with onsite basic and clinical science educators, providing students with easy access to faculty.  Working in small groups of four to eight students for the majority of class time fosters teamwork and, more importantly, friendship.

First- and second-year students study basic and clinical science in a hybrid curriculum that makes extensive use of small group learning, supplemented by large group interactive sessions.  Previous department-based courses such as biochemistry, physiology, and microbiology are integrated and presented in the context of clinical problems to encourage a more logical sequence of learning and to highlight the clinical relevance of the basic sciences.  This helps students learn in a context that more directly applies to how they will care for patients.

The emphasis on an integrated approach to teaching and lifelong learning begins in the first year to help students learn the structure and function of the human body as well as understand social and behavioral aspects of medicine.  It continues in the second year, which emphasizes pathophysiology and clinical decision making.  Basic science is also revisited through the clinical skills course. 

Required and elective third- and fourth-year clerkships are available in private practices, community clinics, and hospitals. These two years involve the application of the knowledge acquired in the basic sciences and essentials of clinical medicine in a clinical setting.  The third year consists of clinical rotations in the core disciplines of medicine.  The fourth year lasts 11 months and consists of electives and selectives.

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  • Years 1 and 2

    With facilitator guidance, students work in teams through cases to discover knowledge from biological and clinical sciences. Faculty engage them interactively on a wide range of topics in medical science and practice. Students learn to put the principles of public health into action through collaborative projects with community partners. They will study cell structure and function utilizing traditional microscopy and digital technology. Under supervision of experienced clinicians, students learn how to interview and examine patients. They will be able to check their achievement of the learning objectives with standardized tests that integrate the week’s material. Students work in teams to learn human anatomy through cadaver dissection and study the knowledge, attitudes, and skills for developing excellence in doctoring.

    Year one sample week
  • Years 3 and 4

    After successfully completing the USMLE Step 1 exam, students begin Phase 3.  Phase 3 consists of the third and fourth years of medical school. These two years involve the application of the knowledge acquired in the basic sciences and essentials of clinical medicine in a clinical setting. The third year consists of clinical rotations in the core disciplines of medicine. The fourth year lasts 11 months and consists of electives and selectives.

    Each student completes seven different clerkships, or rotations: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Surgery. In addition to these seven rotations, each student has a four week elective and a two week rotation in Palliative Care. Students follow a physician in their day-to-day tasks getting time in the office, making rounds, scrubbing-in in the Operating Room, taking nights on-call, working weekends and presenting cases. Students also participate in an academic half day led by the Site Clerkship Director. The structure of academic half days varies according to the clerkship. Most include case presentations, lecture and group-style learning. Clerkships last between four and eight weeks. At the end of a clerkship, students take the National Board of Medical Education Shelf Exam.

    In the fourth year, students spend four months in selectives. These selectives are in Ambulatory Medicine, Critical Care, Emergency Medicine and a Sub-Internship. Fourth year students and their advisors work to tailor each student’s fourth year experience to prepare them for residency. Each rotation lasts four weeks. The fourth year includes three four-week electives in any discipline that they choose. Students get the clinical experience from the third year while also attending lectures and seminars throughout the rotation.

    The structure of the fourth year allows students to take time to prepare for the USMLE Step 2 exams, Clinical Sciences (CS) and Clinical Knowledge (CK) in addition to preparing for residency.  Students must also participate in the Phase Three OSCE during the final year of medical school.

    Students at the Medical Partnership have the opportunity to rotate in Hall, Jackson, Gwinnett, Barrow, Dekalb, Clayton, Newton, Oconee, Clarke, Madison, Elbert, Habersham, and Stephen counties with more sites developing.

    For further information, please contact the Office of Clerkship Administration.

Contact us for more information

W. Scott Richardson

Campus Associate Dean for Medical Education, AU/UGA Medical PartnershipInterim Director of Essentials of Clinical Medicine, AU/UGA Medical PartnershipProfessor of Medicine, AU/UGA Medical Partnership

Winnie Davis Hall, 103A

Lynn Doster

Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator, AU/UGA Medical Partnership

Winnie Davis Hall, 104

Amber Ramsey

Administrative Assistant II,

Winnie Davis Hall, 103

Y1&Y2: Checking each other out

For the first two years, students learn the fundamentals of the medical sciences through the study of the core subjects: anatomy, physiology, histology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, and microbiology. They also learn how to take medical histories and how to perform a physical exam, in addition to learning the principles behind diagnosing diseases.