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March 25, 2010

Texas Tech announces option that could encourage more medical students to consider family medicine, and save them time and money. Major study will recommend similar move nationally.

Two Canadian institutions -- McMaster University and the University of Calgary -- offer three-year M.D. options. In the United States, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine offers a three-year option for a D.O. degree. But the unusual Texas Tech M.D. program could represent a significant move in efforts to encourage more medical students to go into primary care and to find ways to minimize the costs of medical education. And it may raise questions about the fourth year of most medical degrees…..

In June, the Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching will release a major study of medical education, and it will recommend, among other things, that all medical schools consider three-year options. David Irby, vice dean for education of the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine and co-director of the Carnegie study, said that "this ought to be an option for every student -- regardless of specialty."

The Carnegie panel will recommend a focus on learning outcomes and milestones, in ways that could end the norm of four years for medical education. While some medical students might go into residencies after three years, others might focus on research projects or specialties, but not in the strict format of medical education today…..[snip]

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