Several US medical schools are starting small pilot programs which aim to graduate students in 3 years rather than the standard 4 years. The authors cite observational data suggesting that 3 vs. 4 years of training had no effect on commonly measured outcomes such as standardized test results and performance in residency. These “natural experiments” are: multiple US medical schools in the 1970’s, several current US medical schools which block out the fourth year for research or other enrichment activities, 2 current Canadian medical schools (McMaster and Calgary) with many decades of experience with a 3-year curriculum, and several recent “3+3” (3 years of medical school plus 3 years of residency) US programs in family medicine and internal medicine. Advantages of a general shift to a 3-year curriculum could be decreased levels of educational debt and accelerated entry of new physicians into employment. — Laura Willett, MD
Raymond JR Sr, Kerschner JE, Hueston WJ, Maurana CA.”The Merits and Challenges of Three-Year Medical School Curricula: Time for an Evidence-Based Discussion.”
Acad Med. 2015 Aug 11.