Putting physicians on the fast track to family medicine

Across the nation, especially in rural areas, America is facing an acute shortage of doctors to practice family medicine. Most medical schools are in big cities, so many small communities lack resources to draw top candidates to their region. With older practitioners retiring and fewer candidates ready to take their place, Penn State College of Medicine launched an accelerated program to allow students to complete medical school in three years and enter practice one year earlier.

In 2017, Dr. James Kent became the first graduate of the accelerated program, which allows students to complete medical school in just three years, followed by a three-year residency at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Part of the College of Medicine’s Family Medicine Accelerated Pathway, also known as a 3+3 pathway, the program allows graduates to save a year of tuition and living expenses, which could add up to $70,000. Kent was also selected for the Chambersburg Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC), which provides $20,000 in tuition reimbursement if he chooses to practice in one of Summit Health’s underserved areas.

Kent’s parents and three of his six siblings are also doctors, and their College of Medicine classmate, Dr. Dennis Gingrich, became one of Kent’s instructors at the college.

“I went to medical school with both of James’ parents and followed the family over the years,” Gingrich said. “I worked with his sister who also made a career of family medicine and is now working in Africa with underserved patients. James really is part of an incredible family tradition of family medicine.”

Learn more of Kent's story and about the Family Medicine Accelerated Pathway in this Penn State Medicine article.

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Last Updated May 16, 2018