School of Medicine’s Three-Year Medical Degree is First in the Region

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Stony Brook University School of Medicine’s new medical training curriculum – the first of its kind on Long Island, and the second one in New York State – is preparing to welcome its first class of students this July.

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Stony Brook School of Medicine

The new “3YMD” program enables medical students to complete their medical degree in three years instead of the traditional four years. The 15 students enrolled in 3YMD’s Class of 2021 will enter the physician workforce a year early, helping to address a nationwide shortage of physicians. The accelerated program also allows students to save on tuition costs and reduce what is currently a significant level of student debt for new physicians.

Acceptance to the three-year program includes conditional acceptance into one of the 20 specialties in Stony Brook’s medical residency program. They will be eligible to enter residency at Stony Brook School of Medicine if their academic performance meets the program’s requirements.

Stony Brook will continue its currently offered four-year medical degree program in addition to the new three-year program.

Medical schools nationwide are developing three-year degree programs. Stony Brook’s 3YMD is one of approximately 10 such programs that have been approved.

“Medical education is undergoing a major renovation, especially important considering the high and growing cost of an outstanding medical education, and the projection of a major shortage of physicians across the country,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Senior Vice President of the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine. “A small fraction of American medical schools have considered offering a three-year MD program, rather intense, but of continued high quality.

“Stony Brook Medicine is joining the ranks of roughly ten schools that offer a three-year MD program, helping to address the need for more physicians in our community, and as a partial solution to the significant debt that many new physicians face as they begin their careers.”

Latha Chandran, MD, MPH, Vice Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs and the Miriam and David Donoho Distinguished Teaching Professor, said that according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, there is a shortage of physicians in the United States.

If some physicians can graduate a year early and start working, that will help to address this need, she said.

“In New York State, we need primary care physicians,” Dr. Chandran said. “In many rural areas, there is a lack of physicians in medical specialties. And as our population is aging, we need more people trained in geriatrics.”

In some ways, the 3YMD program may prove to be less stressful than four-year MD programs, Dr. Chandran said. Because the new program includes conditional acceptance into a residency program, students will not have to go through the anxious process of interviewing for and matching to a residency. They will also benefit from long-term mentoring offered by experienced practitioners.

“From the moment the 3YMD students come to our institution, we connect them with their residency of choice, and they will have a long-term relationship with that department,” she said.

According to Dr. Chandran, the difference in tuition savings alone is equivalent to one year of tuition. At Stony Brook that would be more than $40,000 for students from New York State and approximately $65,000 for out-of-state residents. And with starting work a year earlier, the financial impact will be substantial.

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