The Georgia Academy of Family Physicians has again supported the Southwest Georgia Pathway to Medical School program with a grant of $2,500 and the 2015 Pathway to Medical School program had another successful year!
This year was a time of growth for the program with ten students from southwest Georgia participating in over 100 hours of structured clinical shadowing with 33 primary care physicians. Students were exposed to primary care in several practice settings including private practice, community health centers, rural health clinics, and a family medicine residency training clinic.
Along with a larger class size, another area of growth for the 2015 program was the community based research component. This year, all 10 students participated in the pre-research week prior to the start of the program. Through the research component, students not only strengthened analytical skills but also developed real world skills important for today’s practitioners.
The Pathway students also participated in a number of seminars throughout the program. One of the most beneficial is the Pathway to Med School Admission Luncheon and Forum. Four of the five medical schools in Georgia were represented at this luncheon where students have an opportunity to interact with admission representatives one on one. This year’s Forum had about 100 participants including online viewers. The Pathway program ended with a graduation luncheon on Friday, July 24th.
The Pathway to Med School program has gained significant interest from pre-medical students across the state with 464 applicants. There have been 97 students who have participated in the program. The shadowing and research experiences have allowed students to further solidify their interest in medicine. Of those who have applied to and heard from medical school, 86% have gained admittance.
Many of the former Pathway students are still completing their medical education. However, some of the early participants have completed medical school and are moving into their residency training. Of the 30 participants who have completed medical school, 21 are in primary care residency training programs. Out of the 21, 7 are in Family Medicine Residency programs and 7 are in Georgia based primary care residency training programs. One of the exciting outcomes happened this year when one of the Pathway graduates finished Mercer Medical School and matched to the Southwest Georgia Family Medicine Program. One evening, she met the Pathway students for dinner to encourage them to remain in primary care and consider family medicine as a career path.
The Pathway Committee is extremely grateful for the funding that GAFP provides. Along with subsidizing costs associated with implementing the program, it also will be used to help to pay for the expenses incurred in bringing the Pathway students to Atlanta for the GAFP Scientific Assembly to present the research posters that they prepared for graduation. Some of this funding will also allow the SOWEGA-AHEC staff to visit colleges in Georgia to promote the 2016 Pathway program as well as careers in Family Medicine. Thank you again for your continuing support of the Pathway to Med School program.