Moultrie is a rural town in South Georgia. It’s flooded with agriculture and, since
2019, has been home to a medical school that focuses on training students to serve
According to The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), there are three critical
ways to increase the number of rural physicians: recruit medical students from rural backgrounds, teach skills needed in rural settings and provide necessary funding for rural medical
Many of the regional physicians who practice in rural areas such as Moultrie and Tifton
encourage PCOM South Georgia students to consider rural medicine upon graduation from
“Oftentimes we think of the challenges that accompany rural medicine such as working
with limited resources, but working in a rural area can be very rewarding,” said Jasmine
Render (DO ‘25). “Students may not realize that many rural areas will pay back student
loans or that they may be able to practice with more autonomy than in an urban area.”
That autonomy is exactly what keeps Frederick Powell, MD, director of anesthesiology at Colquitt Regional Medical Center, interested in practicing
in underserved areas.
“I love the autonomy of working in a rural hospital,” Dr. Powell said. “The rural
community hospital provided me the opportunity to be myself, be autonomous and build
And while medical school loan repayment was his initial motivator, 14 years later
Dr. Sisam is still working in rural medicine, most recently as the primary care skills
director at PCOM South Georgia.
“I encourage people to give rural communities a chance,” Dr. Sisam said. “There are
so many relationships and opportunities in those areas. The people you meet and the
friendships you build are so rewarding.”
Attending a medical school with a mission to train rural physicians—like PCOM South
Georgia—increases the likelihood that students will go into rural practice according
to the AAFP. And Jessica Mitchum, DO, is a testament to that statistic.
Dr. Mitchum, a PCOM Georgia graduate, is a family medicine physician who practices
in South Georgia at Colquitt Regional Medical Center. Dr. Mitchum is also on staff
as a teaching faculty at Georgia South Family Medicine Residency Program where she
educates and trains residents in the rural setting of Moultrie.
“I completed my residency in Moultrie and wanted to stay here to practice in a rural
area,” she said. “People’s access to care is limited, so when they come to you, you
have to treat so much more than you would think. You have to be valuable and adapt.
You have to be able to build relationships in these rural areas.”
While many physicians come from large cities and have to adapt to rural settings,
that wasn’t the case for Wes Ross, MD, ophthalmologist with South Georgia North Florida
Eye Partners. Originally from Tifton, he knew he wanted to complete his medical training
and return as a physician to his hometown.
“It can be intimidating,” Dr. Ross said. ”People don’t want to travel for specialists,
so you’re often treating a lot of other things outside of your scope. I see so many
unique and rare conditions in rural medicine.”
Tift and Colquitt Counties are both designated as rural areas according to the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center. With Tift having 135 physicians for its population of 40,571 and Moultrie having
only 66 physicians for its population of 45,592, the need for rural physicians remains.
Partnerships between regional health systems such as Tift Regional Medical Center,
Colquitt Regional Medical Center and PCOM South Georgia continue to work to fill that
need by recruiting and training medical students in 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 pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.
For more information, contact: Jordan Roberts Public Relations and Social Media Manager Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office:229-668-3198 | Cell:229-873-2003