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wilsonVint Wilson, III DO, MRO, CCD
Medical Director
Dr. Alvin "Vint" Wilson received his medical training at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. His residency training in General Practice/Family Medicine was completed at the Chicago Osteopathic Medical Center. Dr Wilson was licensed by the State of Georgia to practice medicine and surgery upon moving to the state in 1990. Dr. Wilson has since received additional certifications as a clinical densitometrist and Medical Review Officer. Growing up in a military family, Dr. Wilson has lived all over the world; however, he has found no place on earth he loves more than Athens, Georgia. Go Dawgs!


wilsonJulie Puder, PA-C, MPAS
Julie Puder is a Nationally Certified Physician Assistant who obtained her Master's Degree at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She and her supervising physician, Dr Vint Wilson, are recipients of the Georgia Physician/PA Partnership Award in recognition of an Outstanding Health Care Team for 2007. Julie is licensed to practice as a Physician Assistant in the State of Georgia with her emphasis aimed at the care of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, elevated cholesterol and heart disease. She is also trained in the area of women's health as well as cosmetic medicine and is certified to administer dermal fillers, Botox, and perform cosmetic laser procedures. Julie is a dedicated and highly skilled health care provider with many years of experience working in Family Medicine and Urgent Care. Julie has been practicing as a Certified Physician Assistant in Georgia since 2001.


Leigh Elrod, MPAS, PA-C, ATC
Leigh is a National Certified Physician Assistant who obtained her Master's Degree at the University of Utah School of Medicine in 2009. Upon graduation, Leigh began working in Family Practice. Prior to being a Physician Assistant, Leigh was an Athletic Trainer providing medical care for athletes on the high school, college and professional levels. Her professional interests include caring for individuals in all stages of life, disease prevention and wellness, women's health, and sport related injuries. In her leisure time, Leigh enjoys spending time with her family and dog, exercising and playing golf. Although a Georgia native, Leigh has lived in North Carolina, California and Utah. She is excited to be back in her home state!


What is the difference between a DO and a MD?

Osteopathic medicine studies teach that "Any variation from health has a cause, and the cause has a location. It is the business of the osteopathic physician to locate and remove it, doing away with the disease and getting healthy instead." - Dr. A.T. Still - 1874

The two types of physicians vary in their approach to medicine. DO's view the patient as a whole person, and focus on preventative care. They view the whole body rather than only treat individual symptoms. Doctors of Osteopathy typically have a four year degree, just like MDs. Both are subject to the MCAT and a rigorous application process. Doctors of Osteopathy receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, which make up the bones and muscles of a person. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) states that: "Because of this whole-person approach to medicine, approximately 60 percent of all DO's choose to practice in the primary care disciplines of family practice, general internal medicine and pediatrics. Approximately 40 % of all DO's go on to specialize in a wide range of practice areas. If the medical specialty exists, you will find DO's there. While America's 47,000 DO's account for only 5% of the country's physicians, they handle approximately 10% of all primary care visits. DO's also have a strong history of serving rural and underserved areas, often providing their unique brand of compassionate, patient-centered care to some of the most economically disadvantaged members of society." For more information, please access the American Osteopathic Association at

What is a Physician Assistant?

Physician Assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine alongside his/her physician supervisor. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs work as an extension of their supervising physicians. They are trained in intensive education programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Because of the close working relationship the PAs have with physicians, PAs are educated in the medical model designed to mirror physician training.

Upon graduation, PAs take a national certification examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of PAs in conjunction with the National Board of Medical Examiners. To maintain their national certification, PAs must log 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and sit for recertification every six years. Graduation from an accredited PA program and passage of the national exam is required for state licensure.

What does "PA-C" stand for? What does the "C" mean?

Physician Assistant - Certified. It means that the person who holds the title has met the defined course of study and has undergone testing by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. The NCCPA is an independent organization, and the commissioners represent a number of different medical professions. It is not a part of the PA professional organization, the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).

To maintain the "C" after "PA", a physician assistant must log 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and take the recertification exam every six years.

How is a Physician Assistant educated?

Physician Assistants are educated in intensive medical programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The average PA program curriculum is 111 weeks, compared with 155 weeks for medical school. Because of the close working relationship PAs have with physicians, PAs are educated in a medical model designed to complement physician training.

PA students are taught, as are medical students, to diagnose and treat medical problems. Education consists of classroom and laboratory instruction in the basic medical and behavioral sciences (such as anatomy, pharmacology, patho-physiology, clinical medicine, and physical diagnosis), followed by clinical rotations in orthopedics, internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, pediatrics, OB-GYN, emergency medicine, and geriatric medicine.

There are currently more than 120 accredited programs, but an explosion of interest in the PA profession is resulting in the establishment of many new educational programs. All PA programs must meet the same curriculum standards.

A PA's education doesn't stop after graduation. PAs are required to take ongoing continuing medical education classes and be retested on their clinical skills every 6 years. A number of post-graduate PA programs have also been established to provide practicing PAs with advanced education in medical specialties.

What areas of medicine can Physician Assistants work in?

PAs are found in all areas of medicine. Today, over 50% of all PAs practice what is known as "primary care medicine" - that is family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and OB-GYN.

About 19% are in surgery or the surgical subspecialties. PAs receive a broad education in medicine. Their education is ongoing after graduation through continuing medical education requirements and continual interaction with physicians and other health care providers.

Where do PAs "draw the line" as far as what they can treat and what a physician can treat?

What a PA does varies with training, experience, and state law. In addition, the scope of the PA's practice corresponds to the supervising physician's practice. In general, a PA is trained to care for the same types of patients as the physician.

Referral to the physician, or close consultation between the patient, PA, and physician is done for unusual or hard to manage cases. PAs are taught to "know their limits" and refer to physicians appropriately. It is an essential part of PA training.


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Athens Associates
in Family Practice
300 Hawthorne Lane
Athens, GA 30606
Phone: 706.353.7648
Fax: 706.353.2771
All Emergencies Dial 911



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