I greeted this news with both encouragement and concern. On the one hand, it’s reassuring that low- and medium-income students who cannot afford the exorbitant costs of a medical education will have the option to pursue their career dreams with less (although still significant) financial burden. Shaving off $20 to $50,000 of tuition and living costs can mean opening up the medical career to those who are understandably terrified of decades of loan repayment.
On the other hand, the NYU accelerated medical students will need to choose their specialties when they apply to medical school. In return, they will be guaranteed a residency slot when they graduate, but presumably, these applicants would have matched successfully to a residency position if they had been in a traditional program. After all, they are being accepted to a strong medical school and are competitive applicants. (NYU expects these students to stay in the top half of their class academically in order to continue in the accelerated program.)
Asking students to pick a specialty prior to even completing one day of clinical rotations begs the question of whether these future physicians will be satisfied in their fields. Studies have shown that doctors who are more dissatisfied provide lesser patient care and are more likely to leave medicine, which will worsen the accelerating doctor dearth.
Take a look here to read the NYT’s article regarding NYU’s new program, and make your own conclusions.