NYU School of Medicine today announced it is leading a medical school consortium to identify and share best practices for the development of accelerated pathways to obtain a medical degree (MD). The consortium, funded by a four-year, $250,000 grant from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, will serve as an incubator that promotes necessary peer interaction to help ensure a more systematic approach to accelerated programs nationwide.
The consortium concept was created in spring 2014 when NYU School of Medicine hosted a roundtable of deans from 11 medical schools who had already implemented or were considering implementing shortened pathways to the MD degree. To complement the June roundtable meeting, NYU School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania sponsored a survey of deans and program directors at 125 U.S. medical schools.
The results of the survey and the roundtable discussion indicate that a growing number of U.S. medical schools have or will begin to develop accelerated pathways, and that this phenomenon has already begun to change the paradigm of medical education. The issue now at hand is whether such accelerated programs can ensure that the competencies, maturity, professionalism, and attractiveness of its graduates as compared to the graduates of non-accelerated programs.
“Fast-track programs should not emerge haphazardly across the country,” said Steven B. Abramson, MD, co-principal investigator of the Macy Foundation grant, senior vice president and vice dean for education, faculty and academic affairs at NYU School of Medicine. “Rather, they should be carefully developed as an option for interested and qualified students based upon common principles and standards. We are at crucial time where institutions with expertise and experience, such as those in the consortium, need to unite to ensure that the important concerns are addressed, novel ideas are disseminated, and the outcomes of accelerated programs can be measured.”
“This is an important moment to explore new models of medical education to better respond to societal needs,” George E. Thibault, MD, president, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.
The consortium is currently comprised of eight medical schools that have or will implement three year accelerated pathways:
- McMaster University
- Medical College of Wisconsin - Central Wisconsin and Green Bay
- Mercer University School of Medicine
- NYU School of Medicine
- Penn State College of Medicine
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
- University of California Davis
- University of Louisville
According to Joan Cangiarella, MD, co-principal investigator, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at NYU School of Medicine, “With generous support from the Macy Foundation, we will have the resources necessary to coalesce the experience and expertise of the participating medical schools and describe the unique role accelerated pathway programs can serve in medical education. We anticipate that this work will have tremendous and lasting effects throughout the healthcare education environment.”
NYU School of Medicine, which has earned national attention in recent years for reimagining medical education to address the needs of future physicians, recently announced it is #14 in the nation for research, and #2 in New York, out of 130 medical schools on the 2016 U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools” rankings. NYU School of Medicine is also known for the importance it places on providing individualized education, such as its three-year MD and dual degree programs.
Deborah (DJ) Haffeman