Students are graduating early from med school to fight the coronavirus


  • Public officials and health experts have been increasingly referring to the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus in terms of fighting a war.
  • Heading to the front lines soon are members of a new generation of medical students-turned-doctors, some of whom are being allowed to graduate early so they can go ahead and get into the fight against the virus.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pushed to get more doctors into the health care system quicker to aid in this fight, and early graduation is one way of doing that.
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The fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak that’s still pummeling the US, as well as the rest of the world, has been likened repeatedly to a war. And while this one doesn’t have the equivalent of a military draft, we are starting to see new measures taken to send what amount to fresh recruits to the front lines — via efforts like one in New York state that would allow medical students to graduate early to join this fight.

On Wednesday, NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine tweeted that this will, in fact, be happening very soon: “Excited to share that pending approval from @NYSEDNews and #LCME, @NYUGrossman will allow select medical students to graduate early to get more physicians into the health system more quickly, as we fight the growing spread of #COVID19 #allhandsondeck #NYULangoneHeroes”.

This move is an answer to a push from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to, according to the school, “get more physicians into the health system more quickly.” Steven B. Abramson is an executive vice dean at the school and told CNN that some 122 students who were on track to graduate later this summer were asked whether they’d like to graduate early and go ahead and start internships at hospitals in New York.

As of the time of this writing, almost 70 had agreed. “It is awe-inspiring and just says a lot about our students and their dedication to take care of people who are sick and to be part of a team of doctors taking care of these patients,” said Abramson about the effort, which would install the students in internal medicine programs or emergency rooms at hospitals affiliated with the university.

Needless to say, it’s an effort that’s sorely needed in New York, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the US. The lion’s share of all US cases are now in New York — more than 30,000, as a matter of fact, with more than 23,000 of those in New York City alone.

As of Friday morning, meanwhile, the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University showed that more than 86,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in the US to-date, with more than 1,300 deaths.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.
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