By Barbara Myers

Just two miles from the bustling Interstate 85 corridor in Suwanee, the faculty and staff of the fully accredited Georgia Campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA – PCOM) are working together to educate more than 1,000 students to become physicians, pharmacists, other healthcare workers, and organizational leaders as the needs increase in Georgia and throughout the nation.

A branch campus of the not-for-profit Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, the school is built on a more than 100-year tradition of educational excellence. With a mission of training students from Georgia and the southern states, GA – PCOM got its start in 2005, when its first students were admitted. Today, GA – PCOM offers the following degrees: Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MS), and Master of Science in Organizational Development and Leadership (MS). Housed in a 150,000 square foot facility on 20 acres fronting Old Peachtree Road, the campus features an award-winning library combined with modern labs and classrooms. A commitment to community service is evident in campus- and student-sponsored outreach programs.

For more than a century, DOs have practiced a holistic approach to healthcare with the knowledge that the mind plays a crucial role in the body’s capacity to heal, that treating the whole person is essential, that treatments such as osteopathic manipulative medicine aid the body’s natural healing process, and that physicians should work in tandem with patients for the best outcomes.

With a rich tradition that includes the training of doctors in primary and specialty care, alumni are board-certified specialists, academic leaders and educators, and recognized researchers and practitioners. These osteopathic physicians contribute to the health and health policy of communities throughout the nation—including those in disadvantaged rural areas and in regions especially impacted by primary care physician shortages.

GA-PCOM uses innovative methods to provide students with learning reflective of actual clinical procedures and practice. Sponsored projects promote opportunities for collaborative research. The DO curriculum includes clerkship participation at many of the finest teaching hospitals in Georgia and other areas of the South.

Responding to the rising need for pharmacists, GA-PCOM offers a four-year PharmD degree. Faculty is composed of accomplished educators, practitioners and pharmaceutical scientists who employ advanced teaching methods. The curriculum emphasizes patient-centered care and preventive practices.

The MS in Biomedical Sciences offers graduates a wide career path. Scientists in the biomedical field are frontrunners in today’s sophisticated and increasingly skilled medical and research arenas. With a solid foundation in biomedical sciences, graduates can also continue their education and pursue careers as physicians, physician assistants, public health professionals, pharmacists, dentists and other health specialists.

GA – PCOM’s MS in Organizational Development and Leadership is designed for the working professional with accessible and convenient evening courses. Students explore and share practical information in a learning environment built on trust and collaboration. Hands-on faculty, all of whom have expertise in organizational and change management, share current, real-world scenarios so students are able to apply what was learned in class directly to their work environments.

Overall, the college provides tremendous economic, educational and healthcare impact to Gwinnett County and the entire state of Georgia.

For more information about GA - PCOM, visit www.pcom.edu.

People Helping People is a publication of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health & Human Services. For more information contact Ellen Gerstein - ellen@gwinnettcoalition.org or at 770-995-3339.