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Top Story No. 6: Brenau begins study for medical school
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Brenau University is trying to determine whether it - as well as the Gainesville-Hall County area - can support a medical school.

Brenau has contracted with Lexington, Ky.-based DJW Associates to conduct the study, the results of which could be released soon.

"I'm looking for a draft report around Jan. 15," Brenau president Ed Schrader said earlier this month.
He said Brenau will be sharing those results with Northeast Georgia Health System, a "major funder of the project."

Brenau's Board of Trustees will discuss the report in the spring.

"Nothing will be done, from an official standpoint, by the university, until that trustees meeting," Schrader said.

Dr. Emery A. Wilson, principal in DJW, met with area physicians on Oct. 16 to talk about the study.
At that meeting, Wilson said that Brenau might have to spend up to $35 million to start a medical school, but that the economic impact to the area could be at least $100 million.

Wilson gave hope to Brenau's pursuits, pointing out several positives. He noted Northeast Georgia's ever-growing population and the state's need for more doctors.

He also praised Northeast Georgia Health System as a "major asset to this area," adding that it is "comparable to, or better than, most academic hospitals."

Schrader said he believes the report will confirm that "there's a market need and a social need for additional doctors in Georgia and the Southeastern United States."

"The real question comes down to is Gainesville in the right time and place and the maturity of its community to support a medical school and is Brenau is at the right time and place, in its evolution as an educational institution, to host a medical school," Schrader said.

"Those things need to mesh because a medical school of the type we're discussing is a community medical school," he added. "It's one that not only serves the community but also involves the physicians of the community."