Last Updated on May 16, 2022 by Alvina Ibe
What are Three-Year MD Programs?
Three-year MD programs satisfy a demand for shorter medical school programs. They save the student a year of tuition and living expenses (as well as a year with no income), and the student is often guaranteed a spot in a specialized residency. The education and training to become a doctor can often take up to a decade, and so taking a year off of this process is very alluring to some students.
According to the Washington Post, “Some medical school administrators and policymakers see three-year programs as a way to produce physicians, particularly primary-care doctors, faster as the new health-care law funnels millions of previously uninsured patients into the medical system.” And given that specialists are now making double the income of primary care doctors, primary care physicians are at a particular shortage.
With four-year medical programs, the last year is focused on electives and the process of securing a residency position. But there is some debate as to the value of this final year. According to Ezekial Emanuel and Victor Fuchs, writing in the Journal of American Medicine Association, “Years of [medical school] training have been added without evidence that they enhance clinical skills or the quality of care. This waste adds to the financial burden of young physicians and increases health care costs. The average length of medical training could be reduced by about 30% without compromising physician competence or quality of care.”
The Consortium of Accelerated Medical Pathway Programs (CAMPP) is an association of medical schools in the United States and Canada that have created 3-year or other accelerated MD programs. Representatives from member schools collaborate to promote, improve, and evaluate accelerated medical training processes and outcomes. Through scholarship, mentoring of new programs, and professional development, CAMPP works to promote medical education across the continuum of learning through partnership among our various member institutions.
The CAMPP consortium was created in 2015 with eight medical schools, made possible by a grant from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation to NYU Langone School of Medicine. The consortium aims to study several aspects of accelerated MD degree programs, including financial, regulatory, and competency matters. The group also offers guidance to other medical schools seeking to develop such programs.
GOALS OF THE THREE-YEAR MD CONSORTIUM
Consortium member schools’ accelerated programs vary significantly, but all focus on reducing the nationwide physician shortage and alleviating student debt.
The consortium’s goals include the following:
- To study and develop best practices in the implementation of accelerated MD degree programs
- To understand the programs’ impact by tracking student outcomes
- To describe effective mentoring for students
- To promote the concept of medical education across the undergraduate–graduate continuum
- To collaborate with licensing and regulatory agencies on residency placement
- To stimulate a national discussion on accelerated pathways in medical education
- To provide information that medical schools may use in building their own accelerated programs
Many consortium member schools offer students conditional acceptance into residency programs at their own institutions, thereby promoting continuous learning and competency.
Accelerated 3 Year Medical School Programs
Students must choose their residency of interest prior to application to the 3YMD Pathway. For the Class of 2018, there are 34 positions, across 20 residency programs. Students can apply at the time of acceptance or in February of their freshman year. The Three-Year Pathway program starts six weeks before the Four-Year Pathway program, and students work in a summer fellowship between their first and second year. Students can transfer to Four-Year MD pathway, if necessary, due to residency change or otherwise. The graphic below gives a detailed summary of the timeline differences between the 3-Year and 4-Year MD Pathway programs.
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center: Family Medicine Accelerated Track (FMAT)
FMAT’s goal is to prepare primary care physicians more efficiently with lower cost. This program culminates in the M.D. degree and leads to a standard three-year family medicine residency at one of three Texas Tech programs, in Lubbock, Amarillo, or the Permian Basin. FMAT is limited to 16 students per year in each class. Students may apply for the FMAT program when they apply for admission or during the fall semester of the MS1 year. Tech School of Medicine provides scholarship support to FMAT students for at least one year of medical school. Students may choose to return to the regular four-year program at any time. However, any FMAT scholarship support will revert to loan status and must be repaid.
- Mercer University: Accelerated Track in Family Medicine
This program is only for students interested in practicing Family Medicine who have a strong desire to remain in Georgia. Students apply during the Spring of Year 1 and may opt to return to the four-year program at any time. The curriculum is very similar to their four-year MD program, but is compressed into 131 weeks of instructional time and offers more educational contact opportunities between students and the Family Medicine faculty.
- UC-Davis, School of Medicine: ACE-PC
This program is only for students committed to careers in primary care. ACE-PC students start working in Kaiser Permanente primary care clinics within the first few weeks of starting the program and continue in these clinics for three years. Unique curricular content includes population management, chronic disease management, quality improvement, patient safety, team-based care and preventive health skills with special emphasis on diverse and underserved populations. ACE-PC is limited to six students and classes begin in June. Students can apply for the program during the secondary application, and may choose to return to the four-year program at any time.
9.Columbia University: College of Physicians and Surgeons 3-year PhD-to-MD Program
Columbia’s accelerated program is only open to students who have already earned a PhD in biological sciences and intend to pursue biomedical research as a physician scientist. To this end, applicants are restricted to studying cognitive specialties, such as internal medicine, pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry, or pathology. You can apply for this program when you receive the secondary in the regular medical school application process. The program is divided into preclinical courses (18 Months), major clinical year (12 Months), and subinternship and electives (6 Months). Students begin in August of their first year and finish in May of their third year, working over the summers.
10. Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine: Primary Care Scholars Pathway (PCSP)
PCSP students must commit to complete a residency in family medicine or general internal medicine, and practice primary care medicine for a minimum of five years upon completion of residency. If a student does not fulfill these requirements, they will be asked to return the scholarship award (one year of medical school tuition). There are about 12 positions available in this program each year. Students complete all courses and learning modules required in the first two years of preclinical education in 18 months, as well as several courses during the summer months. Students participate in a sub-internship at the hospital where they will continue their clinical training after graduation. In addition to saving the student from paying for the fourth year of medical school, this program includes a scholarship for the third year of medical school.
Accelerated 3 Year Medical School Programs
The practice of Medicine offers a breadth of experiences impossible to find in any other subject. Every day brings different patients with different needs. It’s a great choice for scientists who strive to understand and apply research findings to improve the lives of the patients in their care. It offers a meaningful career that is prestigious, secure and relatively well paid.
However, practising Medicine can be arduous, stressful, frustrating and bureaucratic and it’s not suited to everyone. You need to be sure that Medicine is the right choice for you. These pages will help you work that out, but there’s no better way to find out for sure than by gaining insight of medical practice by seeing it in action and talking to those who provide healthcare. Studying Medicine because that is what is expected of you is never a good idea: make sure that your motives for choosing to do so are well reasoned.
The four-year graduate-entry/ accelerated course (UCAS code A101 BMBCh4) is open to graduates who already have a degree in an experimental science subject.
After a two-year transition phase covering basic science and clinical skills, the accelerated programme leads into the final two years of the standard course and to the same Oxford medical qualification as the standard (six-year) course. The four-year course is designed specifically for science graduates, and places a strong emphasis on the scientific basis of medical practice.