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NYU School of Medicine Debuts Three-Year M.D. Program

NYU School of Medicine Is First Academic Medical Center to Offer Students Three-Year MD with Multiple Specialty Options

NYU School of Medicine announced today that it will begin offering a new accelerated three-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree, approved earlier this month by the New York State Education Department. NYU School of Medicine is the first nationally ranked academic medical center in the United States to offer such a program that allows graduates to pursue a career in either primary care or the medical specialty of their choice.

The new learner-centered program revolutionizes medical education by reducing the length of the traditional MD degree, allowing exceptional medical students to begin their careers earlier in a variety of fields and with less debt. Another integral feature of the new program is that all three-year degree candidates will also be offered acceptance into an NYU Langone Medical Center residency program of their choice at the time of admission, providing a continuum of training between undergraduate medical education and graduate residency training.

"Our ability to attract the best and brightest students can be attributed to the quality of and diversity of NYU School of Medicine’s unique curriculum,” said Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO at NYU Langone Medical Center. “To meet the educational, training, and financial needs of our students, we thought it was imperative to give them the option to achieve their MD degree in three years.

The new three-year option is based upon an emerging national consensus that the model of medical education needs to address the changing scientific, social, and economic circumstances as well as the dramatic changes in the health care delivery system today. The three-year MD degree is the next big milestone of NYU School of Medicine’s own curricular reform, Curriculum for the 21st Century (C21).

Currently, it takes an average of 10 years of medical school, residency, and fellowship to train a subspecialty physician. Such prolonged training delays entry into the workforce, decreasing years of productivity for patient care and research,” said Steven Abramson, MD, vice dean for education, faculty, and academic affairs at NYU School of Medicine. “By eliminating redundancies, we abridged the traditional four-year MD degree while retaining the quality of the education and the 130 weeks of LCME-required study,” Dr. Abramson added.

According to an opinion article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association this past March by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, and Victor R. Fuchs, PhD, the average length of medical education could be reduced by approximately 30 percent without compromising physician competence or quality of care. Among their recommendations, the authors proposed that one year of medical school could be eliminated without adversely affecting training over the course of the individual’s education.

Essential to this program is the ability to track and assess medical student progress over time. An oversight committee will closely monitor the progress and mentorship of medical students enrolled in the program. Students can also track their own progress using powerful analytics software developed by NYU Langone’s Division of Educational Informatics (DEI). Additionally, NYU School of Medicine will use the data housed on this system to evaluate the curriculum, teaching efforts, and learners’ competencies. As Graduate Medical Education (GME) moves towards an accreditation model of competency-based assessment, the ability to assess the learner data collected in this education data warehouse will help to bridge the gap between GME and Undergraduate Medical Education (UME).

Individuals submitting applications in 2013 must first be accepted into the four-year degree program in order to apply to the accelerated three-year track. Up to 10 percent of the class members who achieve a high level of academic performance and who wish to accelerate their training will be accepted into the program. The application process can be highly competitive given the limited number of slots available within each specialty area. To be accepted into an NYU Langone residency program, students must meet specific conditions, which include maintaining high academic performance and satisfactory performance on national board examinations.

NYU School of Medicine’s recent curriculum reform called C21—one of the biggest changes made to medical education in the past century—was pivotal to the creation of the three-year MD degree. Implemented in the fall of 2010, C21’s spiraling curriculum seamlessly integrates the basic and clinical sciences into bedside practice throughout medical school, which enables earlier direct patient contact. The curriculum also allows students to customize their program at different points during their training to graduate in less than four years or with a dual degree.

Additionally, because medical students have diverse learning styles, C21 leverages learner-centered technology that increase collaborative teaching and learning among scientists, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals. Students can learn any time, at any point, and can go back to review information as needed using innovative learning tools developed by DEI, including new web-based modules, computer-assisted instruction, and simulation.

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