One high school student and one college student will be recognized as winners of an essay contest launched in conjunction with the groundbreaking. The students will be presented with certificates and $500 scholarship checks at the April 26 ceremony.
The Southwest Georgia Area Health Education Center (SOWEGA-AHEC), based in Albany, coordinated the contest which asked students to respond to the question: “How can your generation work together to help shape the future of health in South Georgia?”
Zizi Ohamadike, a junior at Lee County High School in Leesburg, was the high school winner of the essay contest. Ohamadike is a current participant in the SOWEGA AHEC’s Rural Health Leadership Program.
Ohamadike wrote, “In order to maintain the health of South Georgia, my generation must realize our responsibility to maintain a community in which quality health is feasible to all people. Such a responsibility demands that we possess the attributes of a servant leader that enable us to serve the community that nurtures us.”
Julia Patterson, a senior at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, was the college winner. Patterson was selected for the Pathway to Med School program last year and has worked with the AHEC since high school. In addition, Patterson participated in the SERVE (Students Embracing Real Volunteer Experiences) program and has volunteered for the Farmworker Health Project.
According to Patterson, her generation must be the one that steps up and answers the call to serve the region.
“We must become physicians, physician assistants, nurses and other healthcare providers who are willing to commit to serving our communities long term,” she added, “The satisfaction of serving our rural community must outweigh the conveniences and amenities that could be found in a big city … I think my generation has the potential to redefine the healthcare system of South Georgia.”
The expansion of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) into southwest Georgia presents additional opportunities to train and “grow our own” to meet healthcare needs in rural Georgia, according to Laura Calhoun, executive director of the SOWEGA-AHEC.
“The future of healthcare in southwest Georgia looks bright if the essays submitted are an indication of our future providers,” Calhoun said. “I am encouraged by the commitment level the students expressed in wanting to make a difference in the health of southwest Georgia as well as the level of understanding of the challenges we face.”
Read the winners’ complete essays:
|Zizi Ohamadike||Julia Patterson|
The PCOM South Georgia groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Thursday, April
26, 2018 near the intersection of Veterans Parkway and Tallokas Road in Moultrie,
PCOM South Georgia is a private, not-for-profit four-year additional location of the fully accredited Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a multi-program institution of educational excellence founded in 1899. Located in Moultrie, Georgia, PCOM South Georgia is being developed to help meet the healthcare needs of the South Georgia region. Initial accreditation has been received from the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. With a planned opening date of August 2019, PCOM South Georgia will offer the doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree to 55 initial medical students. For more information, visit www.pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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