Augusta University is proud of its role as a research university and a major contributor to education, economic growth and innovation in the state of Georgia. We are particularly proud to be home to the Medical College of Georgia and AU Health, the state’s only public academic health system. The good work of our faculty, staff and students would not be possible without the support of those who share our mission and vision.
I am grateful to Governor Deal and the members of the Georgia General Assembly for the support they have given to the University System of Georgia and Augusta University in the 2018 legislative session. Their support reflects the significance of our statewide role, and I want to highlight a few of the proposed investments from this session that are included in the budget that is awaiting the Governor’s signature:
- $49.4 million in bonds for the construction of the new Math & Science Building to help us build a pipeline of health science professionals
- $10 million one-time allocation in the amended budget to offset the cost of Graduate Medical Education
- $1.6 million increase to support undergraduate medical education
- $1.37 million to establish a new Adrenal Gland Center at MCG
- $750K in state support for six fellowships in Vision (Retinal and Glaucoma); Cancer (Gynecological Oncology); Neurology (Alzheimer’s Disease and Stroke/Vascular); and Aging
- An increase in state capitation for four OB/GYN residency slots – $61,320
- First-time state support for three psychiatry residency slots – $43,500
- $5 million for the Georgia Advanced Biomanufacturing Center, a collaboration between Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia and Augusta University.
But as generous as these investments are, our needs remain great.
The students at the Medical College of Georgia face a difficult financial burden. MCG ranks 85th out of 140 medical schools in terms of scholarships awarded. And 81% of medical school graduates leave with an average debt of $134,500. This financial burden makes it difficult to address Georgia’s physician shortage, reduces the diversity of our physician population and exacerbates shortages in specialties.
As we undertake our long-term journey to reach a Top 50 designation in biomedical research, and NCI designation for our cancer center, support for new faculty is essential. To reach those goals, we must increase our population of researchers substantially over the next ten years. MCG will require resources to support new faculty members’ work in the lab, in the clinic and in the classroom.
Additionally, we must have facilities that reflect current technology, provide support for high-impact teaching practices and help students move seamlessly from the classroom to the workplace.
We must also be attentive to our patient experience. We must provide the environment necessary to deliver the highest-quality patient care across the continuum. Our facilities must allow us to take full advantage of our role as an academic health center, maintaining the links between the classroom, the laboratory and the bedside.
State funding alone cannot meet our needs. MCG must develop more partnerships with individuals, corporations and foundations to create a financial model that can adequately support the nation’s 10th largest medical school class. In the coming year, we will be launching a comprehensive fundraising campaign in support of Augusta University, and a centerpiece of that campaign will be fundraising for MCG.
As alumni and friends of our historic institution, you will play a pivotal role in the success of this transformational effort. I will be sharing more about our campaign in the coming months. In the meantime, thank you for everything you have done and will do in support of MCG.
Brooks Keel, PhD
President, Augusta University
CEO, AU Health System