Cooper Medical School of Rowan Univerisity
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Cooper Medical School of Rowan University offers an accelerated three-year track (PC3) for motivated students planning a career in Primary Care Internal Medicine or Pediatrics. Students will complete their training at one of the respective Cooper University Hospital residency programs.

We aim to train the next generation of primary care physicians who will be providing patient-centered, humanistic and culturally-sensitive care for patients and families in New Jersey and beyond. Cooper’s 125+ year commitment to Camden, and CMSRU’s commitment to patient advocacy, civic responsibility and diversity make us uniquely positioned to train future primary care providers, especially for medically-underserved communities. Our program fosters students eager to join this special physician community, one which has the privilege of enduring and meaningful involvement in their patients’ lives.

We hope that you will consider joining us.

Download Our PC3 Factsheet

PC3 Program structure

First year (M1):
You will start the year five weeks before your colleagues, with a unique course called Introduction to Basic Clinical Skills. This course is designed to provide you with fundamental concepts in medical communication, history-taking and physical diagnosis. The skills learned in this course will be put to use from the start of the first year.

You will spend a half-day every month at an NCQA-recognized Patient Centered Medical Home Clinic in your respective discipline (Pediatrics in Camden or Internal Medicine in Willingboro). You will work directly with your primary care faculty preceptor to engage in coordinated patient-centered care as part of a multidisciplinary team. You will spend time in this clinic in M1 and M2, and then in M3 as part of your CLIC (Cooper Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship) rotation.

All of your other academic experiences in your first year will match your four-year colleagues.

At the end of the M1 year, after a short break, you will participate in a five-week course called Transforming Healthcare in an Urban Environment. This is a course intended to provide you with fundamental knowledge and experience delivering healthcare in underserved urban communities like Camden. The building blocks of this course are designed to explore and address barriers to care using innovative models of healthcare delivery. Through experiential learning, you will build your knowledge of social determinants of health and healthcare disparities, public health advocacy, and policies impacting urban health, healthcare for the homeless, trauma-informed care and more. You will learn how teams at Cooper and in the Camden community are transforming healthcare in diverse communities with complex medical and psychosocial needs.

Second year (M2):
You will continue to participate monthly in the Patient Centered Medical Home clerkship, with increased responsibilities and independence, as well as additional exposure to population health management and behavioral health resources within primary care.

You will take your USMLE Step 1 examination at the end of your 2nd year along with your four-year colleagues.

Third year (M3):
The 3rd year has been redesigned for the PC3 track.

During the fall, you will have four-week clerkship blocks (Surgery, Internal Medicine, Neurology, etc.). Some blocks will have additional outpatient time built in, but overall your experience will be the same as your four-year colleagues. All PC3 track members will be in the same rotations at the same time.

During the spring, you will spend 13 continuous weeks in your CLIC (Cooper Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship) rotation honing your clinical skills. You will spend one half-day a week with attending physicians in each of six areas: Neurology, Adult Primary Care, Pediatrics, Surgery, Obstetrics-Gynecology and Psychiatry.

You will spend your CLIC time for your respective chosen specialty (Internal Medicine or Pediatrics) at your Patient Centered Medical Home site.

Your Step 2 CS and CK will be taken in the middle of your M3 year, after your clerkships. You will have special faculty-led review sessions to prepare you for this.

Your year will end with a four-week subinternship in your respective discipline (Internal Medicine or Pediatrics), prior to entering residency. This ensures that your clinical skills are at your peak prior to starting residency.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many students per year participate in the track?

We have up to 4 students/year – two for Internal Medicine and two for Pediatrics

Can I join the track during my 1st or 2nd year?

If there is an opening in the track during the M1 year, students would have the opportunity to apply for it. It is not possible to join the track in the 2nd year of medical school.

I plan to do a subspecialty fellowship. Can I apply to this program?

Some fellowships may enhance or complement a primary care physician’s skills and clinical interests.

For example:
Internal medicine – Geriatrics, Primary Care Addiction Medicine, Adolescent Medicine, HIV Care, Diabetes Care, Obesity Medicine
Pediatrics – Adolescent medicine, General Pediatrics, Child Abuse, Primary Care Sports Medicine, Weight Management
However, if you intend to be a subspecialist, this will not be the track for you. We seek students who are planning to provide direct primary care to patients as one of the goals of our program is to produce clinicians to address the national primary care physician shortage.

What are the benefits of an accelerated program?

This program is ideal for someone who has a strong interest in and commitment to primary care. You will experience primary care settings from your first semester and will have the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with both faculty and patients in your Patient- Centered Medical Home. You will benefit from early mentorship and will have specially designed courses to enhance your clinical skills, as well as your understanding of the complex social and public health landscape faced by primary care physicians. You will have a faculty director who will provide guidance and support during your program. You will save a year of medical school tuition as well as avoid need for the cost, time and uncertainty involved in the residency application, interviews, and NRMP Match process.

Most of your clinical time will be spent at Cooper University Health Care, CMSRU’s primary teaching affiliate. This institution, anchored by Cooper Hospital, has served the citizens of Camden for over 125 years and is committed to providing primary care in Camden and southern New Jersey. Cooper’s commitment to healthcare innovation is demonstrated by the Cooper Urban Health Institute (UHI), a program with a focus on new models of care, the epidemiology of urban health/disease and the provision of resources to provide affordable, effective health care in underserved urban health areas.

Will I have primary care mentorship during the program?

You will be assigned a primary care faculty and resident mentor in your first year. Our hope is that you will establish long-lasting relationships that will benefit you through medical school, residency and beyond. There will be formal and informal opportunities to interact with your mentors throughout your time at CMSRU.

Will I have a guaranteed position at Cooper University Hospital residency programs?

Students participating in the accelerated track have a conditional acceptance to the Cooper Internal Medicine or Pediatrics Primary Care Residency Programs. This means that you will be expected to meet the academic and professional standards required of all students, including passing Steps 1, 2CK and 2CS before graduating from CMSRU. Students not meeting the academic standards will be transferred back to the 4 year track.

Can I apply to a residency program at another institution?

No. Our accelerated track is linked to the primary care residency programs at Cooper University Hospital only.

Can I enter a family medicine residency at Cooper through this track?

No. Cooper University Hospital does not have a Family Medicine residency program at this time.

Will I have to practice in Camden or in New Jersey after residency?

This program aims to train excellent primary care physicians prepared to practice in any community in need. Although many CMSRU and Cooper graduates decide to stay in the Camden area or in New Jersey, there is no requirement to do so as part of the PC3 track.

Does the PC3 track provide financial aid?

There is no specific scholarship or financial aid associated with the track. However, participation in the PC3 track allows you to eliminate 1 year of tuition and fees from your debt. In addition, you will start earning a resident physician salary in what would have been your 4th year of medical school; you will enter the physician workforce and begin earning an Attending-level faculty salary a full year earlier than your colleagues.

All students at CMSRU are eligible for institutional scholarships, but are also encouraged to apply for national or regional funding.

In addition, students who are planning a career in Primary Care may consider applying for loan repayment though the National Health Service Corps

Further details on all funding opportunities are available through the CMSRU Financial Aid Office website.

How do I know if primary care is right for me?

Students come to the decision to pursue primary care in many ways- through shadowing inspiring physicians, working in the medical field (such as a scribe, interpreter, health coach or other volunteer), through personal and family experiences with illness, among others.  Many physicians cite several reasons for choosing a career in primary care - the joy of long-term relationships with patients and families, the clinical diversity and ability to tailor one’s career to clinical interests, are just some of them. We encourage you to seek multiple opportunities that will help you in this decision.

What happens if I change my mind about primary care?

We hope that students’ interest in primary care will thrive within the program. However, a student who no longer wishes to participate in the 3-year track may to return to the 4-year track. Conversely, students who do not meet the ongoing academic and professional requirements of the 3-year track will be asked to transfer to the regular 4 year track.

What can you tell me about the Cooper Primary Care Residency programs in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine?

Both residency programs prepare skilled and dedicated residents to join the workforce as well as succeed in their Board Certification examinations. You will work in multiple settings – not just primary care. Your residency learning will also take place on Inpatient wards, the Emergency Department, as well as Intensive Care Units. You will also have exposure to clinical care in subspecialty clinics. You will practice and experience primary care not only in an urban setting, but also in private and suburban clinics.

PC3 Program Highlights

Highlights of the Pediatric Residency Primary Care track
Students in the Pediatric Residency Primary Care track will engage in advocacy experiences working with children in Juvenile Detention; with special-needs children in school settings; and on health education projects in a local Camden school. With 6 months of outpatient time per year, there is ample opportunity for outpatient time for clinical experiences in subspecialty clinics, research projects as well as dedicated primary care didactic time.

Click here for additional information on the Cooper Pediatrics Residency Program and Primary Care Track.

Highlights of the Internal Medicine Residency Primary Care Track
Students in the Internal Medicine Residency Primary Care Track will experience additional outpatient clinical time; dedicated Primary Care didactics; elective opportunities in HIV Care; Women’s Health and Care for Incarcerated Individuals; as well as care outside the office setting via home visits, subacute rehabilitation and telephone medicine.

Click here for additional information on the Cooper Internal Medicine Residency Program and Primary Care Track.

Requirements for PC3 Track
A student successful in the track will be one with :

Application Process for PC3 Track

If accepted to CMSRU, you will be invited to submit an application through the PC3 application portal; you will interviewed by faculty of the PC3 track and Cooper residency programs in a separate process in early Spring.

The PC3 application portal will be open after October 20.

Additional Information

For further questions about the program, you may contact:

Camille Henry, MD
Internal Medicine-Pediatrics
PC3  Director

Mary Pileggi, RN, BSN
PC3 Coordinator
pc3@rowan.edu