ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle joined Phoebe leadership and Southwest Georgia community officials in the ceremonial turning of the first shovelful of dirt for the new Southwest Georgia Medical Student Housing complex this morning.
Cagle has been a strong supporter of the project, designed to increase the number of physicians and pharmacists serving rural Southwest Georgia. He joined leaders from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, the University of Georgia School of Pharmacy, SOWEGA Area Health Education Center, and the Phoebe Family Medicine Residency program in addressing the need to attract healthcare students to South Georgia for clinical training.
"Really public health. Helping them in solving many of these issues where hospital just don't have the kind of volume to support the infrastructure that is in place," said Cagle.
Over a decade ago Phoebe embarked on a journey to increase the number of healthcare professionals, especially primary care physicians, to care for citizens of this region. Lack of convenient, affordable, temporary housing has been a barrier to attracting students in the past. However, for those who have trained in this area, up to 70 percent have remained in the area, establishing practices within 100 miles.
Future physicians who choose to set up practice in the region are estimated to bring nearly a $1 million boost to local economies with the creation of jobs and patients visiting from outside the area.
"Phoebe is proud to be the leader and home for this much-needed and highly energized project. However, this housing complex is truly a beacon for all of Southwest Georgia – signifying an vision of healthier and more vibrant local communities," said Joel Wernick, Phoebe President and CEO.
Located across from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, the first phase of the new housing complex will feature apartment-style living for 40 students and residents who are in Southwest Georgia for short-term clinical training.