Accelerated Graduation and the Deployment of New Physicians During the COVID-19 Pandemic

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics; School of Medicine; Department of Surgery; Department of Medicine; Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Health and Medical Administration | Health Services Administration | Infectious Disease | Medical Education | Virus Diseases


The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges and opportunities for medical schools in the United States. In this Invited Commentary, the authors describe a unique collaboration between the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), the only public medical school in the state; the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center (UMMMC); and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Through this partnership, UMMS was able to graduate fourth-year medical students 2 months early and deploy them to UMMMC to care for patients and alleviate workforce shortages during the COVID-19 surge, which peaked in Massachusetts in April 2020. The authors describe how they determined if students had fulfilled graduation requirements to graduate early, what commencement and the accompanying awards ceremony looked like this year as virtual events, the special emergency 90-day limited license these new graduates were given to practice at UMMMC during this time, and the impact these new physicians had in the hospital allowing residents and attendings to be redeployed to care for COVID-19 patients.


COVID-19, pandemic, University of Massachusetts Medical School, medical students, early graduation

DOI of Published Version



Flotte TR, Larkin AC, Fischer MA, Chimienti SN, DeMarco DM, Fan PY, Collins MF. Accelerated Graduation and the Deployment of New Physicians During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Acad Med. 2020 Jun 9. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003540. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32520751. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID