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Mountain Sunset

Pathway to Med School

Foothills Area Health Education Center (AHEC), in collaboration with community partners from across Northeast Georgia, administers this 4-week residential program each summer for undergraduate pre-medical students attending Georgia institutions who plan to stay in state for medical school and practice primary care in Georgia. The program consists of 180-scheduled program hours of clinical shadowing, community-based research, and instructional sessions.

Program Components

Program participants will be scheduled for 180+ hours of program experiences including clinical shadowing in primary care clinics across northeast Georgia, community based research, and instructional sessions.

Clinical Shadowing

Students 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.

Community-Based Research

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.​

2024 PTMS Research Projects:

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.

Physician Roundtable Dinner

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, women's health, and general surgery contribute to a discussion of how varied topics influence their everyday work. Past topics have included the AI in medicine, 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.

Program Eligibility

Students applying to the PTMS program must meet ALL of the following requirements to be eligible for consideration:​

  • Be a legal resident of Georgia and a U.S. citizen​

  • Be an undergraduate student attending a Georgia institution

  • Have 2+ years of undergraduate coursework completed by the start of the program

  • Be enrolled in a pre-medical curriculum documented on an official transcript​

  • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA overall and a minimum 3.0 GPA in math and science coursework​

  • Have reliable transportation of your own to travel to all program engagements​

PTMS & Georgia Primary Care

What is primary care?

Primary care describes medical specialties that serve as the front lines of healthcare. Primary care physicians complete broad training and provide day-to-day care for patients across their lifespans.


What specialties are included in primary care?

  • Family Medicine

  • Internal Medicine

  • Pediatric Medicine

  • Women's Health (OB/GYN)​​

Why does Pathway to Med School focus on primary care?

Georgia is facing a shortage of primary care physicians, especially in rural and underserved areas. The Pathway to Med School (PTMS) program supports students interested in pursuing careers that will meet these needs. Take a look at the incentives provided for Georgia's primary care physicians by the Georgia Board of Health Care Workforce and the National Health Service Corps.

How does Pathway to Med School benefit participants?

Pathway to Med School provides early exposure to primary care and community medicine, establishes a network of medical students and physicians to support students as advisors and future colleagues, and encourages students to return to northeast Georgia for clinical rotations, residency training, and physician practice. The opportunities offered through the program strengthen students' applications to medical school, increasing their likelihood of acceptance.

Program Partners

The Pathway to Med School (PTMS) program is a collaborative initiative made possible by a dedicated team of community partners. The Foothills AHEC Special Projects Coordinator and other staff work year-round with a planning committee of enthusiastic leaders in the medical and academic communities within northeast Georgia. Faculty and staff at nearby medical schools volunteer their talents to groom students for the application and matriculation processes. Primary care physicians donate their time to serve as hosts and teachers for clinical shadowing rotations. These combined efforts allow Foothills AHEC to offer the PTMS program at no cost to participants.


The PTMS program is made possible by support from these partners:​

For More Information on Pathway to Med School


For a quick reference to the Pathway to Med School program, print our informational brochure.


This brochure is a great tool for advisors of pre-med students and students considering applying to the program.

Print Brochure


Please email the Pathway to Med School coordinator for information on the following:

  • eligibility requirements

  • program components

  • submitting official transcripts

  • scheduling campus presentations

  • volunteering to serve during the program


The 2025 PTMS Application opens on Monday, November 18th, 2024 at 9:00 AM.

Program Dates

2024-2025 PTMS Program


  • November 18 Online Application Opens​

  • January 31 Application & Official Transcripts Due (Only complete applications and official transcripts will be considered.)

  • Mid March Notice of Acceptance

  • April 14 Documentation, Vaccination Requirements Due

  • May 12 Move-in, Pre-program Activities begin​

  • May 13 Orientation

  • June 12 Graduation Ceremony

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