MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A primary care physician could be your pediatrician, or the doctor that follows you through midlife life into geriatric medicine.
But there is a nationwide shortage of these doctors and a new school is hoping free tuition will lure med students into primary care, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Tuesday.
It could be a game changer — tuition free medical school in Mineola.
Dr. Steven Shelov is the founding dean of the new NYU-Long Island School of Medicine. A building across the street from NYU Winthrop Hospital is being readied.
The new medical school will focus on primary care physicians. Due to a drastic nationwide shortage of such doctors, an accelerated program is due to begin in July.
“We thought by having a three-year school, a year shorter than normal, and making it tuition free, that takes away some of the barriers for people that otherwise might not have gone into primary care,” Shelov said.
Dr. Niti Rajpal wishes such a program was offered when she was in medical school. She and her colleagues graduated with debts over $200,000.
“Medical school, our debt at the end of it is so much that it almost feels impossible that you are ever going to pay it off,” Rajpal said.
NYU-Long Island will assume the $55,000 to $60,000 cost for each student per year, paid for through fundraising and endowments.
The new medical school will begin a nationwide recruitment of primary care applicants next month.
Many students avoid primary and community medicine in favor of more lucrative specialties, but Rajpal and her husband, who is also in primary care, said they felt a calling.
When asked if she would have made more money as, for example, an orthopedic surgeon, Rajpal said, “Probably I would, but honestly I enjoy what I’m doing so much. I love the relationship that I have with my patients, and that you really only see in primary care.”
Hoping to lure the best and brightest to fill the void, all medical students will receive conditional acceptance into an NYU Winthrop residency. The goal is to have doctors eventually settle in the area, creating a pipeline to local communities.
NYU-Long Island medical students will still be responsible for non-tuition expenses, such as housing and books. Financial aid for that will be available.