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Seven new students join accelerated MD pathways at College of Medicine

Seven Penn State College of Medicine students joined the accelerated MD pathways during a signing ceremony June 7 with Dr. Craig Hillemeier, dean, CEO and senior vice president for health affairs. The students now have the opportunity to earn a medical degree in three years and move on to residency.

The students are:

  • John Matarazzo, emergency medicine
  • David Hallan and Oliver Mrowczynski, neurosurgery
  • John Garman, Ryan Kipp, Surav Sakya and MaryJane Sampson, family medicine

The first accelerated pathway, for family medicine, launched in 2014. That program now has three graduates, with Dr. Michael Partin and Dr. Erin Cathcart graduating in May 2018 and Dr. James Kent in 2017. Sarah Stovar and Karissa Thal will graduate in 2019.

Hallan, Matarazzo and Mrowczynski are the first students to participate in neurosurgery and emergency medicine. The internal medicine and orthopaedics pathways will open soon. Another option allows students to devote the fourth year of medical school to either research (clinician-scientist pathway) or a Master of Education degree (clinician-educator pathway).

“The ideal candidates are mature, motivated students with life experiences and good academic records who already know the specialty they want to go into,” said Dr. Shou Ling Leong, director of the longitudinal and accelerated programs. “The accelerated pathways offer fantastic opportunities for these students to save a year of tuition and enter practice one year earlier.”

Accelerated pathways are one way the College of Medicine is working to align medical training with the nation's health care needs. For instance, the Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine Accelerated Pathways are designed to address the shortage of physicians.

“I was drawn to emergency medicine because each day is so different, and I appreciate the opportunity to work on a wide variety of cases with a diverse patient population,” Matarazzo said. “I saw the accelerated pathway as a chance to tailor my education to achieve my goal more quickly.”

A Pittsburgh native, he plans to practice here in Pennsylvania.

“All of my family and friends are close by, so I don't ever see myself venturing too far,” he said.

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