Across the nation and on Long Island there is a growing shortage of primary care physicians, and it’s not surprising. With the average new physician owing $192,000 for medical school alone, earning power has to be a priority for many.
Only about a dozen medical schools nationally focus on primary care training, and these much-needed doctors, often working in pediatrics and internal medicine, earn less than specialists.
The new accelerated medical school that New York University will open in Mineola in July has a solution: It will be tuition-free, like NYU’s Manhattan medical school, and specialize in training primary care physicians, which the Manhattan campus does not.
The first class of the NYU Long Island School of Medicine will have 24 students, with plans to accept 40 annually by the 2023-24 academic year. The course of study will last for three years, rather than the traditional four, with some elective classes eliminated. Financial aid will be available for books and living expenses, which are expected to be about $26,000 a year. And students will generally do their residencies at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola. Experts say that’s crucial for Long Island because many doctors settle where they complete their residencies.
The NYU programs will be, for now, the only tuition-free medical schools in the United States. The nation’s shortage of primary care doctors could reach almost 50,000 by 2030, according to a federal study. This program is an extraordinary opportunity for students who might not have thought they could afford medical school or work in primary care — and a fortunate development for communities that will be enriched by that care.
CORRECTION: This editorial has been updated to correct the number of students that NYU Long Island School of Medicine plans to admit per year, and the timing.