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For many students, dreams of putting on the white coat begin the day they are accepted into medical school. This coat finalizes the hard-fought journey toward gaining admittance as years of constant, rigorous work have finally paid off; all of the pre-requisites of high school, SATs, college, MCATs, AMCAS, and every other acronym you can think of are behind; and becoming a doctor seems to be in sight at last.

The White Coat Scholarship Initiative

Our Goal: Increasing Access to Public Medical Education

The White Coat Scholarship Initiative was launched in 2010 with a goal of increasing access to public medical education in Georgia. The fundraising teams of the Augusta University and the University of Georgia are working together on this critical program, and we need your help.

Our Challenge: Georgia's Physician Shortage

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has projected a severe physician shortage in the United States by the year 2025. A number of factors, including population growth and the spike in the number of aging Americans, will contribute to the demand for physicians outpacing the supply. The high cost of education; dwindling federal support for teaching hospitals; a critical shortage of health care faculty; and inadequate private and public insurance reimbursement, particularly for those serving the most vulnerable and impoverished citizens, have only compounded the problem.

The state of Georgia will be among the states feeling the greatest impact of this shortage. Currently, Georgia ranks ninth in the nation for population growth but is 41st in the number of doctors per capita.

Our Response: Partnering on Behalf of Georgia

Turning Georgia's physician shortage around won't be easy, but a partnership between the Augusta University--the state's only public medical school-and the University of Georgia-its largest and most comprehensive research university--is on track to educate more physicians for Georgia's future.

In the fall of 2010, 40 students began their studies under the AU/UGA Medical Partnership in Athens. By 2020, the Partnership is expected to educate 60 students per year in Athens. The AU School of Medicine campus in Augusta is expected to enroll 240 students per year by 2020 for a total class of 300 medical students per year, a 60% increase over the current AU enrollment.

How You Can Help: Supporting the White Coat Scholarship Initiative

This alliance of two of Georgia's most prominent universities combined with a supportive medical community has created an unparalleled opportunity for the education of future physicians in Georgia. However, much more needs to be done to attract the best and brightest students, especially given escalating tuition and today's challenging economic climate.

Among the first academic priorities of the White Coat Scholarship Initiative is to increase scholarships to attract talented students while also removing the burden of student debt, which can discourage students, especially those of limited financial means, from entering the medical profession. For those who do enter and complete medical school, high levels of student debt are a disincentive to serve in medically underserved areas or to choose specialties where the need is greatest, such as primary care. We need your help to ensure that financial obstacles don't deter students from serving a state with an urgent need for more physicians.

You can give online through the Augusta University or through the University of Georgia.

You can also learn more by contacting one of our development officers:

Ralph Alee, CFRE
MCG Associate Vice President for Major Gifts
(706) 721-7343
ralee@augusta.edu

Kathy Bangle 
UGA Senior Director of Development for Constituent Programs
(706)542-9742
kbangle@uga.edu

Contact us for more information

Mary Kathryn Rogers

Director of Communications and External Affairs, AU/UGA Medical Partnership

Winnie Davis Hall, Room 309

White Coat Ceremony

Signifying official induction into medical school training, the iconic short white coat is presented to students in a ceremony at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia during the early part of their first year. During orientation, students have the opportunity to try on white coats and have measurements taken in anticipation of when they will officially receive their coats a few weeks later.

At the official White Coat Ceremony speakers share their excitement and knowledge with the new first year students before students are invited up to the stage to receive their white coats. On stage, faculty members help students into their white coats for the first time while loved ones and peers look on with pride. Once all students are coated, a pledge is read aloud by the entire class. The White Coat Ceremony culminates in a reception at the Old Medical College building where the Medical College of Georgia first began. This ceremony is a very special event in the life of a medical student and we are so pleased to be able to organize and share this important moment with you.

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