- New York University (NYU) is expanding its medical school footprint with an accelerated three-year program focused on training primary care physicians, an area of the profession that is in high demand.
- Based at NYU's Winthrop Hospital campus in Mineola, New York, the NYU Long Island School of Medicine hopes to welcome its first class in July. It would be NYU's second medical school and would also offer all students free tuition.
- The expansion was approved by medical program accreditor the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Officials expect New York's Education Department to sign off on it this spring.
The expansion and NYU's recent move to waive tuition for all students are parts of a broader effort in the medical community to address a shortage of physicians. The tuition waiver has met early success, reports show, increasing applications by roughly half and doubling those from underrepresented groups.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) says the shortage of primary care physicians could reach nearly 50,000 by 2030 as baby boomers retire from the profession and their generation requires more care as it ages.
In response, the American Medical Association has endorsed three-year training programs and competency-based education in some areas to reduce time spent in school and, by extension, high debt levels that could discourage students from less lucrative specialties. Others contend that offering medical education at the undergraduate level would yield more physicians by shortening the time to degree.
Tim Rice, previously deputy director of health policy at the Manhattan Institute, wrote in September that LCME makes such streamlining difficult (though it allows it to some degree), instead supporting a broad undergraduate education for medical school applicants.
He contends that allowing students to pursue medical education sooner would yield a higher number of qualified doctors to help schools integrate undergraduate education with medical education or train skilled nurses as physicians.
NYU officials said its flexible, accelerated program is intended for students who have determined an early interest in primary care.
Other universities are expanding their offerings to help address the physician shortage. In Texas, which ranks 47th among U.S. states for the availability of primary care physicians, two colleges this fall received approval from a state oversight board to open medical schools.
Seton Hall University, in New Jersey, recently added a medical school. Another is planned for the Claremont Colleges, in California, which is being developed to train doctors to fill 9,000 expected vacancies in low-income communities in the state.