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Accelerated MD Pathways at SCM

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Accelerated MD Pathways at SCM

Beginning in the Fall of 2023, The OU-TU School of Community Medicine will offer an accelerated MD pathway program which will allow up to six selected students per MS1 class to complete the MD degree in three years instead of the usual four*.  This program provides the opportunity for students to enter a directed pathway which leads from accelerated acquisition of the MD degree into a primary care residency training program at SCM.  Once students complete the academic and professional standards for graduation from medical school, they will be positioned to match into an SCM primary care residency program (up to two students each for pediatrics, family medicine, and internal medicine) through the National Residency Matching Program®.  These “3+3” accelerated MD pathway programs are designed to emphasize continuity between medical school and residency training, provide for enhanced mentoring with faculty, and allow graduates earlier career entry in their chosen fields.  In addition to these advantages, students benefit from reduced medical education costs and optimize their opportunities for continuity in patient care and for career and practice advising.

Accelerated MD pathways nationwide are supported by the Consortium of Accelerated Medical Pathway Programs (CAMPP).  The Association of American Medical Colleges Graduation Questionnaire analysis demonstrates that graduates from accelerated MD programs report feeling as satisfied with their medical education and as prepared for residency as their four-year MD graduate counterparts. 

The School of Community Medicine 3+3 Accelerated MD Pathways integrate undergraduate medical education in 3 years with a planned pathway into a 3 year primary care residency training program at SCM through the NRMP Match.  The pathways will produce physicians well-prepared to:

  • Meet the complex medical needs of patients and their families in Oklahoma and beyond
  • Navigate the complex healthcare systems of today
  • Skillfully address social determinants of health
  • Choose if desired to successfully practice in Oklahoma’s rural, tribal, and medically-underserved areas  

The 3+3 pathways emphasize accelerated and highly efficient learning experiences that compress the MD degree curriculum into 3 years. 

All 3+3 students will be expected to meet all educational objectives and MD graduation requirements as indicated in College of Medicine policies.  Please note the 3+3 curriculum and COM policies governing this program are subject to change.  Due to the accelerated nature of the pathway, vacation time and STEP exam study times are reduced. 

How the curriculum is different from the School of Community Medicine Track 4-year MD pathway curriculum*:

Pre-clinical curriculum: 

  • Adds a Career Confirmation Course in the Spring/Summer of the MS1 year emphasizing specialty-specific clinical experiences
  • Adds a Longitudinal Primary Care Course in the Fall/Spring of MS2  (continuity primary care clinic)
  • Places the Geriatric & Community Medicine clerkship at the end of the MS2

Clinical curriculum:         

  • Eliminates 6 weeks of Selectives in the MS3
  • Places the required Sub-Internship at the end of the MS3  
  • Eliminates MS4 required and elective coursework

(*Both the 4 year and 3 year MD pathways at SCM will experience a Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship experience in the MS3 year, replacing traditional block rotations with synchronous training in all clerkships across the MS3 year.)          

The 3+3 pathways emphasize integration of basic sciences with clinical training, continuity in patient care and in faculty preceptorship, and a planned pathway into residency that creates a continuum from undergraduate to graduate medical training.  

What are the advantages of choosing the SCM 3+3 pathway?

  • The ability to complete medical school in three years instead of four
  • The opportunity to save tuition
  • Participating in a curriculum that introduces specialty-specific clinical training into the pre-clinical training years in order to integrate basic science knowledge with clinical practice and to help students develop clinical skills early in the MD educational experience
  • A continuum of undergraduate medical school and graduate residency training
  • Directed pathway to SCM pediatrics, internal medicine, or family medicine residency training program through the NRMP Match

What is the timing of the pathway?

Students first matriculate with the incoming SCM medical school class to which there were accepted, beginning with students who matriculate to SCM in the Fall of 2023. 

Once students are accepted into the accelerated pathway, the 3+3 programming begins in the Spring of the first year of medical school, with an introduction to specialty-specific primary care clinical experiences through the Career Confirmation Course, a course which extends into the Summer term of that same calendar year.  3+3 programming continues in the MS2 year with the year-long Longitudinal Primary Care Clinic Course. 

To complete graduation requirements in a 3 year time frame, students in a 3+3 pathway do not have a Spring Break in their MS1 year and their MS1 academic year extends into the Summer term.  This arrangement shortens the summer break between the MS1 and MS2 year.  The MS2 year is extended by one month beyond the usual length of the traditional 4 year pathway to make room for the Geriatrics & Community Medicine Clerkship.  Step 1 study time is also compressed at the end of the MS2 year. 

Students will participate in commencement from medical school near the end of the 3+3 program.

When am I expected to take USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2 exams?

You will be expected to take and pass USMLE Step 1 in order to begin the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship experience in the MS3 year.  It is strongly recommended to take Step 1 early in the Spring term of the MS2 year.  Step 2 must be taken and the score reported to the College of Medicine in order to be certified for the NRMP Match.  Step 2 will be taken in the MS3 year of training.    

Will I need to enter the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP)?

Yes. The School of Community Medicine Family & Community Medicine, Pediatrics, and Internal Medicine Residency Programs can accept students through the Match only. Therefore, you must enter the NRMP matching process.

Once students have met the academic and professional standards for graduation from the College of Medicine 3-year MD pathway, students are positioned to match into the SCM primary care residency training program aligned with their 3+3 pathway (internal medicine, pediatrics, or family medicine) through the National Resident Matching Program®.  Should students choose to rank their SCM pathway-specific primary care residency program, they will match into a position in this program.    

Will my residency training be different?

Your three-year residency at SCM will not differ from that of other residents in that training program.  However, you should expect your transition to residency training to be facilitated by your experience in the undergraduate component of the 3+3 since you will already be familiar with the SCM department of your chosen primary care field and with the training sites used by that department.   

What if I change my mind and no longer want to pursue my previously chosen primary care field nor accelerate my training?

You may choose for any reason to return to the traditional four-year MD program and then enter the Match as usual. Please be advised, credits for partial courses may not carry over to the SCM four-year MD program, and your MD program timeline may be affected. For this reason, it is important that you are certain about the accelerated curriculum and about pursuing a career in your chosen primary care field before you apply to the pathway.

What if I do not make satisfactory progress in the pathway?

If you have academic difficulties or fail to progress as expected, you would revert to the SCM four-year MD program and enter the Match as usual.

Will tuition costs be different for the 3-year MD pathway? 

The 3-year MD pathway as designed allows students to complete the MD degree with just 3 years rather than the usual four.  If a student reverts back to the SCM 4-year MD pathway, they will incur additional tuition and fees for the added training required to complete the curriculum of the SCM 4-year MD pathway.

Students may apply to enter a 3+3 pathway once they have been accepted to the School of Community Medicine through the usual College of Medicine application and acceptance processes. Once accepted and matriculated, students early in their MS1 Fall semester may submit a 3+3 pathway application to be considered for interviews.  Qualified students in good standing will be invited for interviews and the selection process will conclude late in the MS1 Fall semester.  Up to two students will be selected by a selection committee to enter each of the SCM 3+3 pathways, which will formally begin in the MS1 Spring semester. 

Ideal candidates will be highly motivated to enter a career in primary care in Oklahoma, and will demonstrate excellent time-management, communication, and self-motivation skills along with strong academic performance.   

*The SCM 3+3 Pathways program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award (#T99HP33558).  The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.