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Acad Med. 2020 Mar 10. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003298. [Epub ahead of print]

Preparing for the MD: How Long, at What Cost, and With What Outcomes?

Author information

1
J.S. Gonnella is emeritus dean and distinguished professor of medicine, and founder, Asano-Gonnella Center for Research in Medical Education and Health Care, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. C.A. Callahan is professor of medicine, the Lillian H. Brent Dean of Students and Admissions, and director, Asano-Gonnella Center for Research in Medical Education and Health Care, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. J.B. Erdmann is emeritus dean, College of Health Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. J.J. Veloski is chief, Medical Education Division, Asano-Gonnella Center for Research in Medical Education and Health Care, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. N. Jafari is senior research analyst, Asano-Gonnella Center for Research in Medical Education and Health Care, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. R.A. Markle is professor of biology, and director, Pre-Medicine and Science Majors, Pre-Medicine Office, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. M. Hojat is research professor of psychiatry and human behavior, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, and director, Jefferson Longitudinal Study of Medical Education, Asano-Gonnella Center for Research in Medical Education and Health Care, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8841-3269.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To assess educational and professional outcomes of an accelerated combined bachelor of science-doctor of medicine (BS-MD) program using data collected from 1968 through 2018.

METHOD:

Participants of this longitudinal study included 2,235 students who entered medical school between 1968 and 2014: 1,134 in the accelerated program and 1,101 in the regular curriculum (control group)-matched by year of entrance to medical school, gender, and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores. Outcome measures included performance on medical licensing examinations, academic progress, satisfaction with medical school, educational debt, first-year residency program directors' ratings on clinical competence, specialty choice, board certification, and faculty appointments.

RESULTS:

The authors found no practically important differences between students in the accelerated program and those in the control group on licensing examination performance, academic progress, specialty choice, board certification, and faculty appointments. Accelerated students had lower mean educational debt (P < 0.01, effect sizes = 0.81 and 0.45 for, respectively, their baccalaureate debt and medical school debt), lower satisfaction with their second year (P < 0.01, effect size = 0.21) of medical school, and lower global satisfaction with their medical school education (P < 0.01, effect size = 0.35). Residency program directors' ratings in six postgraduate competency areas showed no practically important differences between the students in the accelerated program and those in the control group. The proportion of Asian students was higher among program participants (P < 0.01, effect size = 0.43).

CONCLUSIONS:

Students in the accelerated program earned BS and MD degrees at a faster pace and pursued careers that were comparable to students in a matched control who were in a regular MD program. Findings indicate that shortening the length of medical education does not compromise educational and professional outcomes.

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