UGA Establishes Independent School of Medicine in Athens

Today, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents has granted the University of Georgia (UGA) the authorization to establish an independent School of Medicine in Athens. This significant development marks a milestone for UGA, Georgia’s flagship research institution, positioning it to address the state’s healthcare needs through top-tier medical education, research, and community outreach.

Georgia faces a critical need for more physicians, driven by rapid population growth and an aging workforce, with nearly one-third of the state’s physicians nearing retirement. The new UGA School of Medicine aims to alleviate these pressures by significantly expanding the number of medical professionals. This expansion is expected to improve wait times for medical services and enhance access to care, particularly in rural and underserved communities. Furthermore, the school will attract leading scientists and researchers to Georgia, bolstering the biomedical and life sciences research already flourishing at UGA. The establishment of the School of Medicine will also spur economic growth, innovation, commercialization, and job creation throughout the state.

The new School of Medicine will build on the success of the Augusta University/UGA Medical Partnership, which has been educating physicians in Athens since 2010. This evolution will leverage the strengths of UGA faculty who are actively engaged in health-related research. Notably, UGA receives the highest amount of NIH funding among Georgia’s public research universities and ranks as the largest recipient of NIH funding among public universities without a medical school. The new school will also enhance existing collaborations between UGA researchers and faculty at other research universities and medical schools in Georgia, amplifying its impact across the state.

A School of Medicine Implementation Team has been formed to develop a comprehensive plan to guide the school’s formation and accreditation process. This transformative initiative, supported by the Governor, the Chancellor, the Board of Regents, and other state leaders, heralds a new era for UGA and Georgia. The School of Medicine will extend its influence into communities across the state, drawing on UGA’s renowned Public Service and Outreach units to partner with clinics, rural hospitals, and local healthcare providers.

President Jere W. Morehead expressed his enthusiasm for this new chapter in UGA’s history, underscoring the university’s commitment to improving healthcare in Georgia and beyond.