Purpose Over one-third of U.S. medical schools offer combined baccalaureate/MD (BA/MD) degree programs. A subset of these truncate the premedical phase, reducing total time to the MD degree. Data comparing educational outcomes of these programs with those of conventional pathways are limited. Method The authors reviewed demographic characteristics and medical school performance of all 2,583 students entering Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine from 1999 to 2013, comparing students in the Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME), an accelerated seven-year program, versus non-HPME medical students. They evaluated Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) selection, quintile performance distribution from the Medical Student Performance Evaluation, United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) scores, and Match outcomes. Results A total of 560 students (21.7%) entered through the HPME. HPME students were on average 2.2 years younger and less likely (15/537 [2.8%] versus 285/1,833 [15.5%]) to belong to a racial/ethnic group underrepresented in medicine. There were no significant differences in AOA selection, quintile performance distribution, or USMLE scores. More HPME students entered internal medicine (161/450 [35.8%] versus 261/1,265 [20.6%]), and fewer chose emergency medicine (25/450 [5.6%] versus 110/1,265 [8.7%]) and obstetrics-gynecology (9/450 [2.0%] versus 67/1,265 [5.3%]). Conclusions The academic performances of medical students in the two programs studied were equivalent. Accelerated BA/MD programs might play a role in ameliorating the length and cost of a medical education. The academic success of these students absent the usual emphasis on undergraduate GPA and Medical College Admission Test scores supports efforts to redefine medical student selection criteria.
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