Thirteen will be first graduates of medical college's Ga. campus

SUWANEE - Thirteen students are graduating with master's degrees in biomedical science today in the Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine's first commencement.

Most of the students completing the two-year program will continue their education at a medical or professional school, said John Fleischmann, the campus executive officer. Three will attend the medical college's Georgia campus, while one will attend the school's main campus in Pennsylvania, he said.

"I'm pleased this point in time has finally arrived," he said.

The master's degree program began in 2006, a year after the Georgia campus opened. The college's objective is to increase the number of primary care physicians in the South, Fleischmann said.

The first class of osteopathic doctors will graduate next May. Osteopathic medicine focuses on preventive care, practicing a "whole person" approach to medicine. Instead of just treating specific symptoms or illnesses, doctors of osteopathy, or DOs, regard the body as an integrated whole, according to the American Osteopathic Association's Web site.