The University of Georgia’s Health Sciences Campus (GHSU) recently opened for its first year on August 6th. The new campus will house two principal occupants: the College of Public Health and the GHSU/UGA Medical Partnership. According to the Athens Patch, land for the campus came from the U.S. Navy Supply Corps School, which closed in 2005 and was purchased by UGA in 2007.
President Michael Adams of the University of Georgia, Athens said that the campus and medical program are meant to help alleviate the shortage of physicians and good medical care in Georgia.
"We rank in the 40s, the bottom quintile, in virtually every category of public health statistic," Adams said. "You name it, we lead the league. We are defining a responsibility here to make life better and to improve the health of the people in this state. We could not, in my opinion, stand by as access to well-trained physicians dwindled."
UGA Health Sciences Campus
Image Courtesy of the Athens Patch
The University of Georgia, Athens plans on training medical students who UGA hopes will later practice within the state, especially in rural areas where good medical care is hard to find. After spending $20 million to renovate buildings for classrooms and office space, the campus is ready to host such students.
“We are projecting approximately 550 College of Public Health and 120 medical partnership students to be taking classes at the HSC this fall. Coupled with academic faculty/staff estimates of another 140, we are projecting a total of 810 faculty, staff and students based at the HSC this fall,” said Kathy Pharr in an article by the Athens Banner-Herald. Pharr is the University of Georgia, Athens’ assistant vice president for finance and administration and director of Health Sciences Campus administration.
The UGA Health Sciences Campus is enrolling 40 students per class as of this fall, but the school hopes to expand to 60 students per class soon after its first class graduates in 2014. Adams, who will be retiring as UGA’s president, said that the growth will not be up to him. According to The Augusta Chronicle, Adams said UGA has already taken care of the cost of creating the infrastructure required for expansion.
“What this is like now is really a very good small college campus,” Adams said. “As it expands, both the College of Public Health and the medical partnerships should expand through the years, but I am going to let somebody else tell you exactly when.”
UGA's President Michael Adams
Image Courtesy of University of Georgia
On the list elements the new Health Sciences Campus might build in its expansion is a wet lab facility, which current students will have to go to UGA's main campus to use. After the first round of renovations in the fall of 2015, close to 1,400 faculty, staff and students will be working on the new campus. Once a new facility is built for the department of environmental health science, that number is expected to grow to 1,650. With such plans in the works, UGA's Health Sciences Campus is well on its way to being a major facility addressing the state's growing health care concerns.
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