Georgia ranks 44th in the United States in active primary care physicians per capita. To address this physician shortage, especially in primary care in rural area, Georgia implemented a statewide medical education expansion initiative. As a result of this effort, medical school enrollment in the state increased by 600 students from 2000-2010, and the state committed to establishing new GME programs at new teaching hospitals to train 400 additional residents by 2025, which includes an additional 100 family medicine resident physicians. As increasing the capacity of GME programs likely increases the number of physicians practicing in the state, these efforts aim to encourage trainees to practice in Georgia.
The GME Expansion program administrated through the Board of Regents is now in its fifth year and amazing progress has been made to date:
- State investment of around $17 million dollars in GME start-up funds to new teaching hospitals
- 9 new teaching hospitals in Georgia (now a total of 21 teaching hospitals statewide)
- 97 new residents already on the ground
- 25 percent increase in GME capacity (number of first-year resident slots available in Georgia)
According to data from the 2014 Georgia Board for Physician Workforce's medical student graduate survey, 54 percent of graduating Georgia medical students matched into a primary care specialty program. Nearly 50 percent said they were going to practice in an underserved area, with 27 percent looking to work in a rural community.
Recent Association of American Medical Colleges data showed 52.5 percent of residents in Georgia GME programs stay and practice in Georgia. This increased distribution of GME positions across the state sets the groundwork to better meet the need for primary care and family medicine physicians in Georgia for years to come.