ALBANY, GA (WALB) - On Wednesday, June 14, 2017, seven young adults traded their sport coats for white coats, marking their first day as Phoebe Putney's newest working physicians.
According to Phoebe, this is the largest Family Medicine Residency Class that the hospital has ever seen.
Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr welcomed the new students. He called the milestone fantastic.
"The service that they're going to be providing for residents of Southwest Georgia is critically important.
It's critical because throughout recent years, Southwest Georgia has had an issue with attracting and retaining new physicians. But Wednesday's ceremony showed that there are doctors interested in Southwest Georgia.
Nana Sarpong Mensah is one of the new residents.
"I'm very excited. I love working in rural populations," Mensah said.
She lived in Ghana for several years before enrolling in medical school at the University of Kentucky.
Mensah said the warmer weather was just one of the reasons in her decision to move to Albany.
"I loved working in East Kentucky, it was great, but I didn't love the Kentucky weather and the allergies," Mensah said.
Resident Nik Karsan is also excited to begin his time at Phoebe, but he's no stranger to Albany.
"I graduated from high school here and went to Darton State College for two years," Karsan said.
Karsan will be one of the first students to live at Flaggstone, Phoebe's new medical student housing aimed to attract more students to the area.
"It looks like a very high-rise place in Atlanta," Karsan said.
Soon, the seven residents will be assigned a panel of Albany patients that they'll provide care for throughout the next three years. But the hospital hopes that they'll continue their practice in Southwest Georgia for years to come.
"I like to meet a need, so whenever there is an underserved community, if I'm there helping, that's what makes me feel good," Mensah said.
"These are my people, my community, so I wanted to come back and work here," Karsan said.
This class will graduate from the program in 2020.
Next week, Phoebe will graduate five residents in its class of 2017. Of those five, one of them is staying in the area.
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