Interest Group Partnering with Athens Community Career Academy

The Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership has strived to do many things since opening its doors in 2010, but two goals remain at the top—producing excellent physicians and giving back to the Athens community.

The introduction of the Community Service Interest Group (COSIG) at the Medical Partnership has allowed students to further venture out into the community.

“I like to volunteer with COSIG because it allows me to serve and connect with the Athens community in a way other than patient care,” said M2 student Amelia Tomei. “It not only gives me an opportunity to learn more about the Athens community and the people I serve as a healthcare provider, but it makes me remember why I wanted to pursue medicine in the first place. Medical school can be difficult but volunteering with COSIG allows me to get back in touch with my desire to help people, which is what brought me, and many other medical students, to medicine in the first place.”

One of their most recent projects has been partnering with the Athens Community Career Academy (ACCA) to work with students who are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare.

The ACCA is a program that provides high school students with the opportunity to learn in one of five career pathways—Business and Law, Future Educators, Health and Human Services, Hospitality, or STEM.  Students from both Clarke County High School and Cedar Shoals High School can apply to attend ACCA. The program allows them to learn technical skills with the possibility of participating in internships.

Catherine Douylliez is the health sciences instructor at ACCA.

“While at the Career Academy, my students take three classes with me,” said Douylliez. “The first is an intro course where they learn about different healthcare careers and what it’s like to work in healthcare. The second class is an anatomy class with a healthcare focus. In the third class, students learn basic patient care skills.”

Medical Partnership students have been making trips to Douylliez’s class to lead case study discussions and panels and give them hands-on experiences with aspects of healthcare such as taking blood pressure, listening to someone’s pulse, and using ultrasound.

“Hands-on learning is key, and I love having the medical students here,” said Douylliez. “It allows the students to get more one-on-one attention. The medical students have also started forming relationships with students and are great resources for questions and guidance.”

“Partnerships like this are important because it allows medical students to develop their teaching and communication skills, as well as help increase diversity in the medical profession. Many students at the career academy may not have personal connections to the medical field,” said Tomei. “As medical students share their experiences and work with high school students, they can help encourage them to pursue careers in medicine they may not have considered before.”

Douylliez said she is thankful for the medical students for being involved in her class.

“I hope that the medical students are getting practice in teaching and working with people,” she said. “For my students’ sake and the sake of my program, it is just amazing to have community partners to help us grow and learn. I hope that this partnership can have even a small impact in that way.”


For more information about attending the Medical College of Georgia at the Medical Partnership campus

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