Some medical schools trim time to degree

A survey of 120 medical schools, conducted by the New York University School of Medicine, found that 30 percent were considering or already planning three-year programs. Meanwhile, medical school enrollments are expanding faster than entry-level residency positions.

The New York Times: The Drawn-Out Medical Degree
Should medical education be shorter? The answer is yes, at least according to administrators at many of America's leading medical schools. The idea may conjure up images of clueless residents Googling symptoms on their smartphones at the patient's bedside, but advocates insist that time spent in school can be trimmed without shortchanging education or compromising quality of care. And they say there are compelling reasons to speed up the process: to reduce the crushing debt many face by eliminating a year's tuition and allowing doctors to start careers, and earn money, earlier (Grady, 8/1).

Related KHN Coverage: Some Medical Schools Shaving Off A Year Of Training (Boodman, 1/14).

The New York Times: Going Professional: The Ins And Outs
The nation needs doctors, and students and schools are heeding the call. Last year the number of applicants to medical schools surpassed 48,000, for 20,055 slots, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Both numbers were a record. ... The good news: The number of spots is growing. ... Meanwhile, colleges of osteopathic medicine more than doubled their capacity from 2002 to 2013. ... [But] enrollments are expanding faster than entry-level residency positions are increasing (Hoover, 8/1).

The New York Times: The Physician Assistant Will See You
Flora Traub is a 37-year-old mother of three with a master's in public policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. But after years as a policy analyst, she found herself reflecting on her undergraduate premedical studies and the happy year she spent in AmeriCorps Community HealthCorps after college. She decided she wanted a new career, in medicine, but not as a doctor. "I wouldn't dream of medical school," said Ms. Traub, who entered Boston University's physician assistant training program this year (Moran, 8/1).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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