Inaugural Medical School Class of South Georgia Reflects on First Year
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Inaugural Class Reflects on Commendable First Year

June 30, 2020
Men and women of the PCOM South Georgia DO class smile outside wearing red shirts during field day as part of orientation in August 2019.
Spirit Week 2020
Women of the PCOM South Georgia DO Class of 2024 smile and pose in the lobby in August 2019.
National Women Physicians Day 2020
PCOM South Georgia DO students smile on stage seats during the white coat ceremony in October 2019.
White Coat Ceremony in October 2019
PCOM South Georgia med students sit and smile in rows of seats during the white coat ceremony in October 2019.
White Coat Ceremony in October 2019
Four male medical students gather and smile over a laptop in a PCOM South Georgia classroom during the winter term.
Classroom session in winter term

The DO Class of 2024 has been lauded by the College's faculty and staff for navigating an exceptional first year.

It was a year of firsts for the PCOM South Georgia Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) class: the first class to attend PCOM South Georgia, the first to finish its term there virtually, the first to successfully complete the first year of medical school in Moultrie, and the first to complete that year during a global pandemic.

Kristie Petree, DO ‘13, osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) site director, said these students have been nothing short of pioneers.

“Our students did a phenomenal job navigating this year,” she said. “In the beginning, the word “pioneers” was thrown around a lot, but I don’t think any of us realized how accurate that description was. They navigated a new school, new building, evolving curriculum, an overnight change to a digital platform, and a global pandemic all in one year. They deserve an extra acknowledgment for all they did. It was a big year in a lot of ways.”

Transitioning to online learning

As a professor who works primarily in a lab setting, George Fredrick, MD, primary care skills (PCS) director, understands the challenges that the students faced by finishing their term online. He teaches and critiques each student’s ability to work with high-fidelity mannequins and standardized patients, including taking patient histories and monitoring vital signs—something that is harder to learn through a textbook than in the Simulation Center.

“We weren’t able to be in a lab and critique their skills, so they had to make the most of what they could do with video,” he said. “This is the path they’ve chosen and they had to stick with it. They realize how tough medical school is and that they had to support one another and have a support system at home. I was impressed with how the students really rolled with the punches.

Despite the hardship of learning through videos and books at home, Dr. Fredrick said the students are prepared for their second year.

“They’re probably a little ahead of the game,” he said. “In their second year they will focus on applying what they learned from the patients such as their history and exam and then making a diagnosis and plan. It’s one step further.”

Faculty embrace remote teaching

But it wasn’t just the students who adapted to this new learning environment. Overcoming a global pandemic in an educational setting was also a first for faculty and staff, including Dean and Chief Academic Officer, H. William Craver III, DO, FACOS. He credits the PCOM South Georgia team for making a quick and efficient change to continue delivering content.

“The faculty saw the need to keep students safe and continue moving them forward on their educational journey,” he said. “It was simply a matter of days, and they had redesigned their lectures. I was extremely impressed with how cognizant the faculty were of using online tools. They delivered an excellent product, and the students’ performance showed that.”

A special class at a special place

Like the entire campus community, Justina Mason, Assistant Director of Student Affairs, takes pride in the inaugural class. She’s worked with the students closely over their first year, from fundraisers to holiday events to the white coat ceremony—she’s made memories right alongside them.

“PCOM South Georgia is a very special place,” she said. “It takes a strong person to come to a new school in the most important time of their life. Our students are true leaders and will be a great influence on the class of 2024. I’m excited to see the physicians they will be. They’re going to change the face of medicine.”

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  • About PCOM South Georgia

    Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit or call 229-668-3110.

    For more information, contact:
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    Office: 229-668-3198 | Cell: 229-873-2003

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