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July 11, 2012

Shortening Medical Education

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri (Dr Rao; raor@vision.wustl.edu); and University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, Iowa City (Dr Dlouhy).

JAMA. 2012;308(2):133-136. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.7024

To the Editor: As graduates of a program with 2 optional years of basic science research and as current trainees nearing the conclusion of 6 to 7 years of postgraduate training, we agree with some of the points raised by Drs Emanuel and Fuchs in their Viewpoint.1 The practice of encouraging all trainees to become triple-threat physicians, clinicians-scientists-teachers, is flawed, especially as a decrease in Medicare funding for graduate medical education is anticipated.2 We agree that medical training should be shortened. The final year of medical school does not involve a full-time educational experience and includes significant time (≥2 months) for optional electives, research, and travel. Reducing or eliminating this final year would also reduce the debt incurred in medical training, which is nearing $200 000 per student, and appears to be adversely influencing medical student selection of primary care training.3,4