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July 11, 2012

Shortening Medical Education

JAMA. 2012;308(2):133-136. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.7016

To the Editor: The Viewpoint by Drs Emanuel and Fuchs1 brings to the forefront an important issue facing our medical system: waste. While others have argued from the perspective of spending and overuse, the authors considered the currency in this case to be time, and the waste, excessive training. As medical students, it is evident to us that there is redundancy in our education. We have learned some topics (eg, the Krebs cycle) in high school, college, and again in medical school. Every extra year of training adds to student debt, a problem exacerbated by the recent elimination of Direct graduate subsidized loans.2 Furthermore, trainees sometimes consider specialties based on duration, simply for family planning purposes. However, while we agree that the training pipeline needs improvement, we suggest a different approach to reform.