SUWANEE - When Khushbu Patel was 10, she contracted typhoid fever in India.
Doctors in the Asian country didn't know what was wrong with her, but physicians in the United States helped her recover. That experience helped spark Patel's desire to become a doctor.
Patel is one of 86 new medical students starting classes Monday at the Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Patel, who majored in biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech, said she's excited and nervous about starting medical school.
"The next seven years of my life are just gone," she said with a laugh.
Most students in the incoming class are from Georgia, and all but a few are from the south. The campus' focus is to increase the number of primary care physicians in Georgia and the south, said John Fleischmann, the campus executive officer.
Out of the campus' first graduating class, which finished in May, 55 percent chose primary care and 22 percent went into family medicine, Fleischmann said.
"We're meeting our goals and our objectives," he said during orientation Wednesday, "and the students are fulfilling their expectations."
The school also admitted 60 students into its master's degree program in biomedicine.
Randy McKenzie, a Clemson graduate, said he wants to go to medical school but the college suggested he complete the biomedical program first.
"It's a good introduction to the routine of going to medical school," he said.