Capital Campaign Underway For Phoebe Medical Student Housing Complex

Barbara Kieker

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Phoebe Foundation is seeking to raise $3.8 million through a capital campaign for the construction of medical student housing in Albany.  A lead gift of $1 million from the Richard K. Mellon Foundation and approximately $200,000 in donations from local and area individuals have already been made.  Phoebe Volunteers have committed $900,000 to the project and P.E.A.C.H. – the Phoebe Foundation employee giving program – will also be a major supporter.  

Jay Sharpe, one of the principals at U Save It Pharmacy, is chairing the corporate committee within the capital campaign to attract financial support from the business community.  Sharpe, a Phoebe Foundation board member, said the decision to help with the capital campaign was a "no brainer." 

"I've lived in Albany all my life and the older I get, the more I love it.  With medical student housing, we will be better able to attract physicians to practice here," Sharpe said. 

"Everyone who lives here will need a primary care physician at some time, as will their families and friends.  Plus having access to good healthcare is a major attraction for industry." 

Attracting primary care physicians to Southwest Georgia

Attracting medical students to the Southwest Georgia clinical campus is critical given the anticipated shortage of primary care physicians in Georgia and nationwide.  According to The New England Journal of Medicine, Georgia is the second most challenged state in building the necessary number of primary care physicians.  Rural areas like Southwest Georgia are especially challenged. 

According to Phoebe, 70 percent of the students in their Family Medicine Residency program stay within a 100-mile range of the hospital after graduating.  Phoebe began its residency program in 1993 with the goal of keeping 60 percent of physicians trained within a 60-mile radius.

"We've seen how having a residency program here has worked.  Students who aren't planning to stay end up putting down roots and practicing here.  Some of my best friends are physicians who wouldn't be here if they hadn't come to Phoebe for their residency," Sharpe said.

"It's very appealing to medical students to have a readily available place to live because that's one of the hardest things about moving.  It will be a great selling point for the SWGA clinical campus." 

Housing can be an issue for medical students, who are in Southwest Georgia for differing lengths of time.  Third and fourth year medical students are required to study in a clinical setting.  Some programs last for six to nine weeks, which limits housing options. 

"Medical students now have other options for satellite campuses for their clinical rotations.  Being able to offer safe, affordable, convenient housing on campus will encourage more students to come to our region," said Mandy Flynn, major gifts officer for Phoebe Foundation. 

In addition to medical students, the housing complex will benefit pharmacists, nurses and other clinicians.  Housing residents will have access to the Healthworks exercise and wellness facility and the on-campus employee child development center, Family Tree.

A phased approach

According to Flynn, the medical student housing complex will be built in phases.  The first phase will include that can accommodate 40 "heads on beds."  

"They will be small apartment units.  Our project goal is to accommodate more than 100 students when it is complete," Flynn said.

Architectural renderings are due shortly and groundbreaking is tentatively expected in November 2015. Naming opportunities exist, depending on the generosity of individual donors. 

Individuals and businesses are invited to pledge their support online at

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.