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Pathway to Medical School Program Components

What are the PTMS program components?

The PTMS program consists of 180 scheduled program hours. These hours are broken down into three areas: clinical shadowing (80 hours), community-based research (60+hours), and instructional sessions (40 hours).

What comprises the clinical shadowing component?

Program participants will be scheduled for 80 hours of clinical shadowing in primary care clinics across northeast Georgia. These experiences are intended to give students an idea of a typical day as a primary care physician, and may include seeing patients, attending meetings, researching, etc.

What comprises the community-based research component?

Physicians volunteer to serve as a primary investigator for a PTMS community-based research project and supervise program participants as they complete all phases of their research. Project work begins immediately to allow students time to prepare, collect data, analyze results, and develop a research poster and presentation. Although there are 60 hours scheduled for groups to work on their projects, students are expected to use additional time during the evenings and weekends as necessary to complete their posters and presentations.

The efforts and lessons from each project are shared with physicians, family, and friends during the program graduation ceremony. During the fall semester following the program, students have an opportunity to submit their research for presentation at the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians Scientific Assembly, affording them presentation experience and networking opportunities.

2023 PTMS Research Projects:

Silent Dangers: ​Inappropriate Prescription of Teratogenic Medications in Reproductive-Aged Women

Bundling Up for Better Blood Pressure: The Impact of Bundle Interventions on Patients with Hypertension

A Comparative Analysis of STI Rates in Georgia Department of Public Health District 2  During Surges in COVID-19

What comprises the instructional session component?

Medical School Campus Visits

Visits are made to both the Augusta University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership in Athens and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine-Georgia Campus in Suwanee. During the visits, program participants attend a variety of instructional sessions to prepare them for application to medical school. Sessions vary each year and on each campus but may include:​

  • campus tour

  • faculty lecture

  • information session with faculty/admission representatives

  • Q&A session with current students

  • MCAT prep

  • interview skills

  • attending a class/lab

  • essay preparation​


Mock Interview Day

Mock Interview Day has been highly touted by former PTMS students. During this session, admissions representatives from Georgia medical schools interview students, exposing them to real medical school interview questions and practices in a no-pressure situation. Representatives also provide students with feedback on current interviewing/acceptance trends and tips on how to best prepare and improve their skills. (Students participate in an information and practice session prior to the mock interviews.)

Physician Roundtable Dinner

A program favorite, one evening during the program participants attend a roundtable dinner hosted by Foothills AHEC during which physicians from each primary care specialty will share their insight on current trends in healthcare. Before the meal, physicians representing family medicine, internal medicine, pediatric medicine, and women's health contribute to a discussion of how varied topics influence their everyday work. Past topics have included the Affordable Care Act, the patient-centered medical home, rural healthcare delivery, preventative medicine, and population health. The evening includes a Q&A session during which students may seek advice regarding medical school, residency, career searching, etc. and concludes with dinner.​


PTMS participants meet current medical students at the medical school campus visits.  The medical students serve as a source of guidance and encouragement by answering questions regarding medical school matriculation.

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