Agnes Scott College: Addressing the Physician Shortage

THE STATISTICS ARE STARTLING. Of the 159 counties in Georgia, only 10 have enough primary care physicians to serve their communities. There is no pediatrician in 65 counties, no OB-GYN in 82 counties, and no psychiatrist in 90 counties. Nine counties have no doctor at all. The physician shortage isn’t just a state or regional issue; a recent study found that the United States may experience a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034.

Agnes Scott Magazine shoot (Adam Hagy)

To say the situation is a challenge is an understatement. But Agnes Scott College is stepping up to meet that challenge. By expanding its medical and healthcare education programs, Agnes Scott is supporting both its mission and the market while building a more diverse healthcare workforce. Outcomes for the college speak volumes. In the 2022-2023 medical school application cycle, 100 percent of qualified Agnes Scott College master’s and post-baccalaureate students were admitted to the medical school or health professions program of their choice.*

Master of Science in Medical Sciences

Building on the success of existing post-baccalaureate program options for students interested in healthcare, in fall 2022, Agnes Scott College launched its Master of Science in Medical Sciences programs. Created to help students advance their academic records and distinguish themselves as they prepare to apply for medical school or other health programs, the initial cohort of 41 students graduated in August 2023.

Shoshana Katzman, PhD
Director and Associate Professor of Medical Sciences (Credit: Agnes Scott College)

In addition to enhancing students’ academic credentials in preparation for applying to medical, dental, or veterinary school, the master’s programs help students develop important skills and competencies, such as critical thinking, teamwork, and ethical responsibilities. The program’s advanced curriculum includes a signature course series designed by a physician advisory panel that helps students develop the necessary attributes, attitudes, and skills they need to succeed in healthcare. As part of this course series, students volunteer at an Atlanta-area hospital, clinic, or nonprofit organization to complete their clinical practicum experience. “We have partnerships with a number of healthcare organizations in the metro Atlanta area that provide volunteer opportunities for our students,” says Shoshana Katzman, director and associate professor of medical sciences.  “These resources not only help students become more competitive applicants but empower them with social and cultural awareness. We want our students to be forward thinkers who will contribute to both their profession and their local communities.” 

As part of these programs, students can complete an MCAT or related test preparation course at no additional cost. They may also qualify to apply for admission to the health program of their choice through linkage programs that Agnes Scott has developed with various schools including Morehouse School of Medicine and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Developing the Whole Student- Advising at ASC

Sean Walsh, MS
Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Adviser
(Credit: Agnes Scott College)

At Agnes Scott, “every student has an opportunity to meet with each member of our health professions advising team,” says Sean Walsh, graduate/post-baccalaureate adviser. “As students prepare for an upcoming application cycle, we assess and review their quantitative metrics. We help our students select programs congruent with their academic and professional strengths, so their chances of receiving secondary applications, invitations to interview, and acceptances increase significantly.”

Master of Science in Medical Sciences Accelerated

Shelby Hunt MS’23
Master of Science in Medical Sciences Accelerated
(Credit: Agnes Scott College)

Shelby Hunt MS’23 was a member of the inaugural Master of Science in Medical Sciences class at Agnes Scott. Hunt, who graduated from Livingstone College with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2019 and is currently working as a medical assistant at a pediatric clinic, wanted to make sure she was equipped and prepared to handle the courses and course load of medical school.

“Prior to this program, I was unsure about what I needed to do to fully prepare and apply for medical school,” says Hunt, who hopes to become a pediatric oncologist. “Thanks to the Agnes Scott community, including my advisers, teachers, and classmates, I feel fully prepared and ready to apply for the upcoming cycle.”

Learn more about all of the health professions graduate programs at Agnes Scott College and join us for an upcoming event by visiting us at

*Qualified students are those who earned a 3.50 GPA or higher and scored at or above the 50th percentile on the required standardized test for their school or program.

This story was written by Debbie Ritenour.

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