SOWEGA-AHEC, in collaboration with Albany Area Primary Health Care (AAPHC) and Phoebe Family Medicine Residency Program, created the Pathway to Med School Program to address the critical need for primary care physicians in Southwest Georgia. Knowing that students from rural communities are more likely to return to a rural area to practice and understanding the need to increase the pipeline of rural students enrolled in Georgia medical schools, it was determined that students from the 38-county region needed to become more competitive in the application process.
To determine how to make the students more competitive, AHEC polled the admissions committees from each of the medical schools in Georgia to determine what beyond MCAT scores and GPA would increase their chances of being accepted. The overwhelming consensus was a much needed and significant structured clinical shadowing and medical research experience. The Albany based Pathway to Med School Program was structured accordingly as a 4-week residential experience to include 80 hours of clinical shadowing in a primary care setting and 75 hours of community-based research to include data collection, interpretation and presentation.
Southwest Georgia is a medically underserved area (MUA) and by supporting the efforts of local aspiring medical students at the pre-med academic level we can improve access to healthcare in our communities.