David Hess, dean of the Medical College of Georgia, left the Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick campus Friday impressed with what he’d seen.
Hess, who became dean of the medical school in April, toured Brunswick’s hospital facilities for the first time last week. Many students at MCG, in Augusta, come down to Brunswick for clinical training in several areas, including OBGYN, pediatrics and surgery.
“Medical students, if they’re in a big academic health center like in Augusta — that’s our anchor — they have a lot of resident fellows that compete with them to do procedures,” Hess said.
Students receive more hands-on, one-on-one training in Brunswick’s facilities than they would in a larger academic hospital like in Augusta, Hess said.
“I was at the University of Maryland in Baltimore when I trained, and I delivered all of one baby during my six weeks of OBGYN training,” he said. “And here, they’ll do up to 50 in a month, so it’s a huge difference.”
Hess has been touring campuses around the state. MCG, the only public medical school in Georgia, is creating a system of regional campuses to relieve doctor shortages in the state’s rural areas.
“There’s a huge doctor shortage lately, and a huge doctor shortage in Georgia,” he said. “So Georgia ranks 40th in the country in positions, and of course Atlanta has a lot of positions.”
Students who train in hospitals in South Georgia will be more likely to move and work in that area when they graduate, Hess said.
“The goal is to create a pipeline of positions for the area,” he said.
Hess toured the Nunnally House on Friday afternoon, and he saw not only the services offered to patients and family members there, but also the living facilities for the medical school’s students.
The Nunnally House is a lodging facility for patients who have cancer or family members of critical care patients. The center is located adjacent to the hospital and also offers rooms to medical students and on-call staff.
The Southeast Georgia Health System campus in Brunswick not only offers talented staff and impressive facilities and equipment to work with, Hess said, but it is also located in a place many would like to live.
“This tends to be the most popular campus for students, I think for two reasons. One is the great facilities and the great preceptors of hands-on experience,” he said. “The other, of course, is being on the coast.”