Augusta Tech and University Health Care System Partner to Establish a New Health Science Campus

Staff Report

Friday, January 14th, 2022

Leaders from Augusta Technical College and University Health Care System signed a letter of intent (LOI) today on a partnership that will greatly expand the healthcare workforce for the greater Augusta region.   

The goal of the program is to graduate a minimum of 200 nurses a year within five years of inception, according to University Health Care System Chief Executive Officer James R. Davis. 

“We are at a critical point in healthcare staffing in Augusta,” Mr. Davis said. “Nothing is more important to meeting the healthcare needs of our community than creating a new local pipeline for training the next generation of nurses and other clinical professionals.” 

The letter of intent outlines the commitment of both Augusta Technical College and University Health Care System to grow the local healthcare labor force by developing an Augusta Technical College Health Science Campus on the University Hospital Summerville Campus, Mr. Davis said.  

 “The goal is to increase the capacity to educate and graduate future health professionals predominantly in nursing, but also other clinical roles to include patient care assistants, patient care technicians, certified medical assistants and others,” Mr. Davis said. “Because the need for clinical professionals in our community will continue to increase, we felt compelled to create a solution for our patients and the community.”     

Augusta Technical College President Dr. Jermaine Whirl said this partnership is unique not only to the Augusta region, but to the state of Georgia. “This campus will serve as a state model and a national exemplar of collaboration between a technical college and local healthcare system,” Dr. Whirl said.  

The LOI calls for University to provide Augusta Technical College’s School of Health Science access to designated space on the University Hospital Summerville Campus at 2260 Wrightsboro Road for clinical learning and academic instruction. University Hospital will provide upfits and renovations to adapt the existing space for educational use. The LOI further states that “as the program develops and shows its ability to produce nurses, consideration will be given to build a new academic classroom building on the University Hospital Summerville Campus.”  

University will also provide access to scholarship funds to support nursing students, as well as supplemental funding or clinical faculty to support the ongoing allied health and nursing instruction at the college, according to the LOI. 

Dr. Whirl said Augusta Technical College’s intention is to relocate its current School of Health Science from their main campus to the downtown Augusta Summerville campus where it will offer all healthcare programming and a full suite of student support services.   

“We are extremely excited for the opportunity to partner with University Health Care to fill the critical workforce gaps in our community,” Dr. Whirl said. “We are grateful for their initiative, and we look forward to a cooperative future in which two outstanding institutions work in concert for the betterment of our community.” 

Dr. Whirl said the college aims to launch Phase 1 in late spring or early summer, once state approvals have been authorized.