St. Francis, Columbus Regional announce partnership with Mercer - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

St. Francis, Columbus Regional announce partnership with Mercer University

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Friday morning, a big announcement was made in Columbus. Mercer University says it is partnering with Columbus Regional and St. Francis Hospital to establish a Columbus campus for its school of medicine.

Already, 12 third and fourth year medical students have enrolled in the program – beginning their clinical rotations in Columbus this summer.

Students will spend time at each hospital to so they can graduate fully trained.  St. Francis is known for their cardiology and The Medical Center, family practice.

The program will begin with about a dozen personnel and expand as the program grows.

Mercer and Columbus officials hope these students "will be tied both physically and emotionally to this campus because of the positive experience they will have Columbus on their radar," said Williams Bina, the Dean of Mercer university School of Medicine.

Georgia is facing a critical shortage of physicians.  Without this partnership, it is believed that shortage will only get worse.

"Because the Mercer School of Medicine only accepts students who are Georgia residents, this campus expansion will expose a large number of future Georgia doctors to Columbus and the surrounding western region of Georgia, increasing the likelihood that many of them will practice in the area once they complete their medical education," said Bina.

[Read more: Mercer announces partnership with St. Francis, Columbus Regional

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