California university to fast track training for medical students

Some students at the University of California at Davis Medical School will soon be able to practice medicine after three years of training, according to Kaiser Health News.

Thanks to a $1 million, five-year grant from the American Medical Association (AMA), medical students will not have to go through the traditional four-year training path before becoming primary care physicians.

The curriculum, which cuts out summer vacations, electives and the residency search, is designed to get primary care physicians out in the field faster, said Dr. Tonya Fancher, director of the program called Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care, or ACE-PC.

“There’s a huge problem, a huge shortage of primary care physicians,” Fancher said.

As more people gain health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the need for primary care will increase. ACE-PC aims to make family medicine a more appealing and lasting choice for young doctors. The accelerated course could reduce up to $60,000 of a medical student’s education debt.

“Students come into medical school, they’re passionate about patients, passionate about primary care, and then that wanes over time,” Fancher said. “Part of it is probably the debt that they accrue in school, and part of it are the models of primary care that they’re traditionally exposed to.”

The AMA and the Association of American Medical Colleges support three-year medical schools as part of the redesign of medical education. Texas, Georgia and New York also have schools with these accelerated programs.

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