Posts Tagged ‘medical school’

Fast Track

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

The U.S. needs to produce more doctors yet medical training takes several years, costs thousands of dollars, and selects a small portion of the applicants. The University of Texas is starting a program that streamlines the process, granting a bachelor’s degree and a medical degree in as few as six years.

The 60 students admitted to the new program would demonstrate high academic achievement in high school. If they maintain good grades, upon graduation they are guaranteed a slot at the UT medical schools in Dallas or Houston.

By integrating medical education into the undergraduate curriculum, students would avoid the traditional fourth year electives of medical school. They would also enjoy the option of pursuing a master’s in public health or a research project for an additional year.

Texas Tech already offers a three-year medical degree for students going into primary care. Some law schools have shortened their professional programs from three to two years. As debt remains a concern for aspiring doctors, shortening the time they have to pay tuition may draw a wider pool of potential candidates.

UConn Expansion

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

In a refreshing contrast to all the plans to cut public programs, the governor of Connecticut is proposing to expand the University of Connecticut Health Center. The plan would add 100 students to the medical school and construct a new patient building. Governor Malloy seems to have come up with a way to satisfy the short-term need to create jobs and the long-term goal of enhancing life science research and clinical care.

A New Medical School

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Western Michigan University is a public university in Kalamazoo. The university conducts research in the health sciences, and two teaching hospitals in the city already train residents on clinical rotations. So, in 2010, WMU began the process for accreditation of a new medical school.

This week, WMU announced an anonymous donation of $100 million to launch the new school. Like the source of the gift, WMU’s medical school will be privately funded. The school now has a dean and several committees dedicated to having classrooms ready to welcome students in two or three years.

MD or DO?

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

As a patient, I have always seen physicians with the initials “MD” after their names. Once, on an unplanned visit to the university health services, I noticed that the doctor on call had “DO” listed after her name. Some unexamined prejudice made me hesitate, but I was sick and happy to get care. In the end, she gave me exemplary care, and I could not have distinguished her training from another physician’s.

There are 26 colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. In the current admissions cycle, every single one has registered increases in applications. A total of  13,500 students are seeking to attend an osteopathic medical school. This still does not match the 42,742 applicants applying to an allopathic medical school, but it shows that the future physician work force will comprise both kinds of doctors.

The osteopathic colleges’ national organization makes the case that DO graduates are more likely to go into primary care, helping meet the need for internists in the country. The faculty list in the Department of Medicine at BU contains no names with the DO degree, though I have met one DO in another department. It would be helpful to know more about the characteristics of osteopathic college graduates and if recruiting among them could help meet our goals for clinical, scientific, and educational excellence.

Medical School Deans

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

As academic medicine has grown more complex, the role of dean has become increasingly demanding. In fact, scholars have expressed concern about shortened tenure for deans and rapid turnover in medical school leadership.

A new study published in Academic Medicine offers a contrasting view. Analyzing information from 1959 to 2009 for of all 125 AAMC-member institutions, researchers found no decrease in deans’ term of service. With a median time of 6 years in the post, medical school deans enjoy a tenure roughly equivalent to college presidents.

The findings hold the promise for greater stability in medical schools. With longer tenures, deans can implement long-term programs and put enduring systems in place.

Breaking Ground

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Last week, the Boston University School of Medicine broke ground on a new student residence on Albany Street, near the Crosstown Building. Mayor Menino was on hand alongside university leaders and student representatives. Not only was this an encouraging project for the economic development of Boston, but also it portends assistance to defray the high cost of medical education

Tuition, fees, and health insurance at BU’s School of Medicine run $51,134 for the current academic year. Only 4 other medical schools in the country charge more according to data collected by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Of course, the median for all private medical colleges is a not-too-cheap $47,408.

By building its own low-rent apartments, BU can  help mitigate the high cost of tuition in a relatively high-cost city. This benefits more than just the institution. A recent study of primary care doctors suggests that easing medical students’ debt can help increase the number of physicians who practice in underserved areas.

Helping Hospitals

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Harvard Medical School will receive $36 million in support from its partner hospitals. According to a Boston Globe article, the medical school relies primarily on research and endowment funds to support its operations. With a decline in investments and increased debt obligation, it is facing a shortfall.

In the scope of the school’s $580 million budget, the contributions will not drastically change the financial situation, but it does represent a shift in the historically loose relationship between the medical school and its teaching hospitals.

It’s also significant that one of the concessions the hospitals asked from the medical school was a quicker appointments and promotion process for the physician faculty. Again, faculty development plays a crucial role in the health of an academic medical center.