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Urology 3+ Accelerated Pathway

Building a Pathway to Urology

Penn State College of Medicine's 3+ Urology Accelerated Pathway (URO-APPS) is a three-year accelerated MD specialty pathway leading to early entry in the five-year Urology Residency program at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. As a field, urology offers a wonderful combination of both the medical and surgical care of patients of all ages across a wide spectrum of urologic medical conditions. We hope to recruit motivated, mature, well-rounded individuals into this extremely competitive surgical field.

The benefits of the URO-APPS program include:

  • Reduced cost of medical school and career entry into urology one year earlier
  • A scholarship equivalent to one year of medical school tuition
  • Completion of core courses and required clerkships combined with additional rotations focused on the medical and surgical management of patients with urologic conditions
  • Tailored mentoring, career advising, and support for students throughout their medical school education and urology residency training
  • Opportunities to participate in urology focused research projects as a medical student
  • Residency training in the Penn State Health Urology Residency Program

Medical students accepted into this pathway are evaluated consistently during their medical school education. If students fail to maintain required performance levels, acceptance into urology residency can be rescinded. Upon meeting the academic and professional standards for graduation from medical school, students are ranked to match into a Penn State Health Urology Residency Program through the National Resident Matching Program.

Pathway Details

What is 3+ URO-APPS exactly?

The Penn State College of Medicine 3+ Urology Accelerated Pathway (URO-APPS) is designed for students to earn their medical degree in three years, followed by urology residency at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The Penn State Urology Residency Program is a five-year program in which physicians do a preliminary year in general surgery followed by four years of urology surgical training.

Applicants to this pathway have been offered acceptance to Penn State College of Medicine. Applicants should possess a record of high academic achievement, a desire to help serve others and the community, and have a demonstrated interest in urology as a career. Students in the URO-APPS program will complete core requirements and achieve school wide competencies within three years of matriculation.

During the medical student years, individuals in the URO-APPS pathway will be mentored by caring and highly skilled urologists who are invested in fostering their success as a student and thereafter as a resident physician. The Department of Urology consists of 16 fellowship trained physician surgeons who provide expertise and education in all urologic subspecialty fields including oncology, urinary stone disease, reconstruction, pediatrics, female pelvic medicine, robotic surgery, and general urology. Upon graduation, medical students will be well-prepared to embark successfully on their internship and residency training at Penn State Health.

How many students do you accept each year?

We accept up to one student per year.

Will I need to enter the National Resident Matching Program?

Yes. The Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Urology Residency can accept students through the match only. Therefore, you must enter the NRMP matching process.

Upon meeting the academic and professional standards for graduation from medical school, students are ranked to match into the Penn State Health Urology Residency Program through the National Resident Matching Program®. Should students choose to rank Penn State, they would match into a urology residency position at Penn State Health.

What are the Pathway Objectives?

  • To provide a curriculum that allows students to complete all graduation requirements toward the MD degree in a three-year time frame
  • To provide the appropriate mentorship to support the students’ training with the goal that graduates of the URO-APPS program will be prepared to assume the responsibilities of residency in urology
  • To develop an UME-GME continuum of training to enhance mentorship and reduce fragmentation in medical training

By the end of this pathway, the student will:

  • Accomplish all graduation requirements in three-year time frame
  • Identify longitudinal career mentors in the Department of Urology as part of the process of identifying with their chosen specialty
  • Be prepared to engage in scholarly activity during residency through deliberate and intentional research activities during the Medical Student Research Project phase of the URO-APPS curriculum

What does the curriculum involve?

The program is divided into phases:

Phase I, Foundations of Medicine (pre-clerkship)

  • Phase I will be the same for students in URO-APPS as students in the four-year curriculum, except certain Phase II courses and electives are offered early to permit acceleration.
  • In the spring of the first year, students will enroll in a career confirmation elective (CCE) similar to other 3+ track early residency curricula currently in place at the College of Medicine. CCE will be held during afternoon hours to avoid conflict with other Phase I curricular requirements.
  • Students will enroll in an elective in radiology and urology during the summer between the first and second academic year. In the second year of Phase I the student will complete a longitudinal family medicine clerkship.
  • Following completion of Phase I students will take the USMLE Step 1 exam which is the first required national licensing exam.

Phase II, Clinical Core Clerkships

  • During Phase II, URO-APPS students will complete an acting internship in urology and the remainder of the usual Phase II clerkships (health equity, internal medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, neurology, OB/GYN and surgery) in the block model.
  • Students will participate in an elective in urology, a two-week subspecialty elective in nephrology or cardiology and a two-week anesthesiology elective, in consultation with the pathway director.
  • Following completion of Phase II, students will take the USMLE Step 2 Exam.

Phase III, Residency Preparation

  • In the final months of their third year of medical school, students will continue to accelerate by completing an acting internship in the surgical intensive care unit.
  • Additional coursework, including “Translating Health Systems Science to the Clinical Setting”, a humanities selective, and “Transition to Internship” course will provide students with the requisite courses to meet graduation requirements.

What deliverables are expected of the student?

Students in all 3+ tracks, including URO-APPS, must meet the same educational objectives/subcompetencies and graduation requirements as the four-year program. However, in the 3+ tracks, career exploration electives in Phase II and certain electives are waived.

All students in 3+ tracks must complete a minimum of eight weeks of electives and a medical student research project.

The methods of assessment in the URO-APPS track will be identical to those of the traditional four-year program.

What if I decide urology isn’t for me or the Department of Urology isn’t where I want to do my residency?

Students may opt out of the URO-APPS track and re-enter the traditional four-year program at any time.

Why train at Penn State Health Urology?

The Penn State Health Department of Urology is dedicated to delivering outstanding urologic care to our patients and we are deeply invested in serving those living in Hershey and our surrounding central Pennsylvania communities. An integral part of carrying out this important mission to serve others involves mentoring and training future generations of urologic surgeons at Penn State Health.

As a medical student in the accelerated program, and later as a Penn State Health urology resident, you will have the opportunity to train with expert surgeons who are fellowship trained in all urologic subspecialty fields including oncology, urinary stone disease, reconstruction, pediatrics, female pelvic medicine, robotic surgery, and general urology. In addition to clinical immersion and experiences in the operating room, you will participate in research and in extensive didactics that will enhance your foundational knowledge in preparation for a successful career in academia or private practice.

Additionally, our department is ranked as one of the highest performing hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. Numerous urology faculty and residents have received institutional awards for teaching and mentoring students and residents. Many faculty are devoted to community outreach efforts and medical student organizations that help our students and community thrive. Finally, many faculty hold positions in national urology organizations and are nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in research and urologic surgical care.

In our URO-APPS program, you will be mentored, challenged, and encouraged as you learn and grow as a student doctor, a resident physician, and as a person. Our dedicated faculty will be invested in your development and success. The Department of Urology is very excited to welcome all interested students to apply to this innovative accelerated program.

Application Process

Students may apply for entry into the URO-APPS pathway at two points – after acceptance into the MD program at Penn State College of Medicine and before matriculation, or in the fall of their first year of study.

Once accepted into Penn State College of Medicine, students may submit a secondary application to the specific pathway of interest to them.

Students in good academic standing and with a demonstrated interest in urology will be invited for interviews. A second request for applications, depending on the availability of a position, will occur in the fall of the first year of medical school.

The ideal student candidate is:

  • a highly motivated learner
  • hard-working, mature, honest, and well-rounded
  • dedicated to serving patients and the community
  • interested in clinical care, research, and surgery
  • academically strong

A selection committee composed of urology faculty who are very invested in medical student and resident education will interview applicants and make the final selection for a URO-APPS position.

Students in the URO-APPS track must maintain good academic standing. A student who does not meet expectations in any courses or subcompetencies may be required to re-enter the four-year program with earned course credits carried over to the four-year program.

Pathway Faculty

Director

Amy Burns, MD
Department of Urology
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
500 University Drive
Mailcode H055
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-8849

Email: aburns@pennstatehealth.psu.edu

A portrait photograph of Dr. Amy Burns in front of a professional photo background.
Amy Burns, MD

Coordinator

Danielle Shreiner

Email: UROAPPS@pennstatehealth.psu.edu

Faculty

Contact Us

Amy Burns, MD
Department of Urology
Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
500 University Drive
Mail Code: H055
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-8849

Email: UROAPPS@pennstatehealth.psu.edu

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