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Accelerated MD Program Doesn’t Mar Academic Performance

Academic performance of students is comparable in accelerated program, conventional MD program

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) — An accelerated baccalaureate (BA)/doctor of medicine (MD) program does not impair the academic performance of medical students, according to a study published online July 3 in Academic Medicine.

Marianne M. Green, M.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues compared educational outcomes of programs that offer a combined BA/MD degree program, which truncates the premedical phase, with programs offering conventional pathways. Data were compared for 2,583 medical students in the Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME; an accelerated seven-year program) versus non-HPME students entering the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The researchers found that 21.7 percent of students entered through the HPME program; on average they were younger and less likely to belong to a racial/ethnic group underrepresented in medicine. No significant differences were seen in Alpha Omega Alpha selection, quintile performance distribution, or United States Medical Licensing Examination scores. Compared with non-HPME students, more HPME students entered internal medicine (35.8 versus 20.6 percent), while fewer selected emergency medicine (5.6 versus 8.7 percent) and obstetrics-gynecology (2.0 versus 5.3 percent).

“The academic performances of medical students in the two programs studied were equivalent,” the authors write. “Accelerated BA/MD programs might play a role in ameliorating the length and cost of a medical education.”

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