Debtless docs debut at tuition-free LI med school

White wedding: Till MDs do them part, 24 future doctors will be intensely engaged with the NYU Long Island School of Medicine.

Future doctors ceremoniously started their medical educations at schools around the world July 26, but the “white coat ceremony” at one Long Island institute held a singular significance.

It was the very first for the NYU Long Island School of Medicine, New York University’s newly accredited med-ed mecca.

Part of the NYU Langone Health system, the LISOM received preliminary accreditation in February from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting body for educational programs at U.S. and Canadian medical schools.

It’s still awaiting final regulatory approvals from the New York State Education Department, which are tied directly to the program preparing its first group of graduates and are expected to arrive in time for the school’s first commencement exercises, slated for 2022.

But the preliminary approvals clear the way for the inaugural Fall 2019 class, and the three-year medical school – located on the Mineola campus of NYU Winthrop Hospital – is now busily training primary-care physicians, with concentrations in internal and community medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN and general surgery.

Andrew Hamilton: Opening doors.

The LISOM is New York University’s second medical school, joining the Manhattan-based NYU School of Medicine, a more traditional medical school with a range of three- and four-year programs.

And like its sister school, the LISOM offers all matriculated MD students a full-tuition scholarship, regardless of merit or need, through a unique philanthropy-supported model. The NYU School of Medicine was the first medical school in the country to adopt the tuition-free model, a “bold vision to make medical school attainable, without financial hardship, to attract the brightest and best students from diverse walks of life into the medical profession,” according to NYU President Andrew Hamilton.

Admissions to the new Long Island program were understandably competitive. Some 2,400 applications were whittled down to a first-class total of 24 matriculated MD students, according to NYU Langone, which is already in recruiting mode for next year’s Fall 2020 incoming class – expected to include 32 new students, with incoming classes growing to a projected-maximum 40 students by Fall 2021.

The 24 incoming LISOM students hail from across the country and a wide range of undergraduate schools, including Harvard and Duke universities, NYU and Stony Brook University. Fifteen are women and nine are men; two are nurses, and one of those is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, according to NYU Langone.

As per tradition, the future doctors – surrounded by family and faculty – donned white jackets and recited a version of the Hippocratic Oath at the LISOM’s emotionally charged July 26 opening. But old-school med-school tropes end there for the innovative institution, where an accelerated three-year program is looking to dispatch professional MDs ASAP.

That’s a direct response to current and future needs, according to Steven Abramson, NYU Langone’s chief academic officer.

“In the decade ahead, there is expected to be a significant shortage of primary-care physicians nationwide,” he said. “NYU LISOM hopes to inspire its graduates to help fill that void in the New York metro area and on Long Island.

“The tuition-free initiative, along with the three-year curriculum, are critical milestones in transforming medical education and addressing the dramatic changes in the healthcare delivery system,” Abramson added.