Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC) and Mercer University School of Medicine teamed up to offer a three-year family medicine track for Mercer’s medical students. The goal is to train and launch primary care physicians to serve in Georgia’s medically underserved areas.* With Georgia ranked 45th out of 50 states for primary care doctors per capita, there is a great need for this program.
The family medicine accelerated curriculum track, was one of the accelerated programs in the U.S. It allows students to complete medical school in three years instead of the usual four years. Graduates are able to enter the work force a year earlier and save the cost of an additional year of medical school.
This helps offset the income difference between a career in primary care and a career in a more lucrative medical specialty.
Only the top medical students are eligible for the accelerated curriculum track. Once they are accepted, students must meet all of the requirements for medical school graduation in a shorter length of time. Graduates are encouraged to undergo residency training in Savannah and, afterward, practice in the region.
In 2016, the accelerated curriculum track program earned a Health Care Heroes Award for Health Care Innovation from the Georgia Medical Society.
* The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration defines medically underserved areas or populations as those having too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, and high poverty and/or high elderly population.