MD Program Family Medicine 3+3 Accelerated Program

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Family Medicine 3+3 Accelerated MD Pathway

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Responding to Needs in Family Medicine

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Penn State Family Medicine Accelerated Pathway (FM-APPS) is a 3+3 pathway where students complete medical school in three years, followed by a three-year Family and Community Medicine Residency at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center or Family and Community Medicine Residency at Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College.

Prominent organizations including the Council on Graduate Medical Education, Macy Foundation and the American Association of Medical Colleges have called for better alignment between medical training and the healthcare needs of our nation. Studies have established that the health of the population is improved when the nation's medical workforce consists of at least 50 percent primary care physicians.

The pathway is a member of the Consortium of Accelerated Medical Pathway Programs, initially funded by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation.

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Pathway Overview

To address the increased need for family medicine physicians, Penn State College of Medicine, partnering with the Department of Family and Community Medicine, has developed a three-year accelerated pathway with the following goals:

  • Accelerate training, allowing students to earn a medical degree in three years.
  • Integrate learning by offering longitudinal integrated clerkship (LIC) in the place of traditional block clerkships.
  • Advance national healthcare initiatives by supporting student interest in family medicine. 

Explore the residency program

Leadership from Penn State College of Medicine and its Family Medicine Accelerated Pathway welcome students in 2016. These students will complete three years of medical school followed by three years of family medicine residency.
Leadership from Penn State College of Medicine and its Family Medicine Accelerated Pathway welcome students in 2016.

By blending a three-year program with the LIC in an innovative curriculum, we anticipate graduates will be patient-centered, empathetic physicians who are well prepared to practice in the changing healthcare environment. Through curricular innovation and exceptional mentoring, we have developed a learning environment tailored to a career in family medicine, hence addressing the shortage of primary care physicians. Students have the opportunity to save one year of tuition and enter practice one year earlier.

The accelerated pathway was launched in 2014. Read more about one student's experience in this July 2016 Penn State Medicine article. You can also read more about the pathway in articles co-authored by Dr. Leong in Maryland Medicine, Vol. 17, Issue 1 and in Academic Medicine, published ahead of print in August 2021. You can also view a curated selection of literature about accelerated pathways.

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FMAPPS 3+3 Pathway Curriculum


The Family Medicine Accelerated Pathway at Penn State (FM-APPS) curriculum isn’t just accelerated, it’s designed to maximize efficiency through learning that is built on prior knowledge and skills.

Longitudinal, Immersive Experiences

As an FM-APPS student, you’ll be expected to meet all educational objectives and graduation requirements of the regular MD curriculum.

The methods for assessment are the same as those for traditional medical students. However, because it is an accelerated pathway, vacations are reduced.

How the Curriculum is Different

The FM-APPS curriculum differs from the "regular" four-year curriculum in the following areas:

Phase I

Beginning in the spring of the first year, students start acceleration by enrolling in the medical home longitudinal elective.  During the summer, you will complete the underserved medicine clerkship, radiology elective and work on the Medical Student Research project. In the fall of the second year, you’ll complete the Family Medicine Clerkship in a longitudinal format.

Phase II

Designed with proven best practices, Phase II will be in a longitudinal integrated clerkship (LIC) format instead of block clerkships. Integration is highlighted across three years of medical school and into residency training. Curriculum features include the following guiding principles:

  • Continuity of relationships with patients
  • Continuity with faculty preceptors
  • Continuity of setting
  • A longitudinal developmental pedagogy

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