AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A pinning ceremony was held today for the Medical College of Georgia’s third class of Peach State Scholars.

Nine medical students committed to MCG’s 3-Plus Primary Care Pathway. The students will complete medical school in three years and enter directly into a residency program in Georgia.

“This cohort is the largest,” said Dr. David Hess, Dean of The Medical College of Georgia. “And very diverse in the different training they’re having.”

The students’ tuition will be paid for once they commit to serve an underserved area of the state.

“The more training they get in Georgia,” said Dr. Hess. “The more likely they will stay long term.”

The Peach State Scholars Program aims to address the shortage of doctors in areas around the state.

Peach State Scholar Jordan M. Bothwell was inspired to serve marginalized communities at a young age. He’s pursuing Emergency Medicine – a specialty where he says he gets to do ‘a little bit of everything’.

“It also puts you in a position where you can help anybody that comes in,” said Bothwell. “And that was really important to me.”

MCG recently graduated its first cohort of Peach State Scholars. 

“Last year, we had seven Peach State Scholars,” said Dr. James Richardson, Chief Medical Director of the Peach State Health Plan. “This year, we have nine. Next year, we plan to have even more. Our goal is to look forward to when they actually start practicing in those rural communities that don’t have the same access to health care.” 

Peach State Scholar, Taylor Nicholson, says she’s been interested in psychiatry since high school.

“Seeing that there was a program that I could just go ahead and say that was what I want to do, it was an easy choice,” said Nicholson.

Bothwell tells us getting early exposure to residency in the MCG 3+ program has been uniquely valuable. 

“There are so many students that are trying to get into different places,” said Bothwell. “But us being able to say, ‘oh, we’re looking into the three plus program, we’re looking into fast-track things’, they immediately open up their doors and say, ‘well come in! Spend some time learning about family medicine, spend some time learning about internal medicine’. And they’re very, very welcoming, I think. It’s been a huge blessing.” 

MCG launched the 3+ program in 2021 in partnership with the Peach State Health Plan.