Cooper Medical School of Rowan Univerisity
  Instagram Facebook Twitter Contact

Cooper Medical School of Rowan University offers an accelerated three-year track (PC3) for motivated students desiring a career in Primary Care Internal Medicine or Pediatrics. Students have a direct pathway to training at one of the respective Cooper University Hospital residency programs.

We are preparing 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.

PC3 Program structure

First year (M1)

You 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 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 work directly with your primary care faculty preceptor to engage in coordinated patient-centered care as part of a multidisciplinary team. You 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 match with those of your four-year colleagues.

At the end of the M1 year, after a short break, you participate in a five-week course called Transforming Healthcare in an Urban Environment. This course provides 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 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 also 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 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 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 have four-week clerkship blocks (Surgery, Internal Medicine, Neurology, etc.). Some blocks have additional outpatient time built in, but your overall experience in the clerkships is the same as your four-year colleagues.

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

You 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 examinations is scheduled after your core clerkships. You will have special faculty-led review sessions over the summer and fall to prepare you for this.

Your year ends with a four-week subinternship in your respective discipline (Internal Medicine or Pediatrics), prior to entering residency. During subinternship, a senior medical student takes on the clinical responsibilities of an intern on an inpatient medical team, under the close supervision of a senior resident and attending physician. 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.

Some examples of such fellowships offered by academic institution around the country include:

Internal Medicine:

  • Academic General Internal Medicine
  • Adolescent Medicine
  • Diabetes Care
  • Geriatrics
  • HIV Care
  • LGBTQ Healthcare
  • Obesity Medicine
  • Primary Care Addiction Medicine

Pediatrics:

  • Academic General Pediatrics
  • Adolescent Medicine
  • Child Abuse
  • Primary Care Sports Medicine
  • Weight Management

However, if you intend to be solely a subspecialist (e.g. a cardiologist or gastroenterologist), 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 experience primary care settings from your first semester and have the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with both faculty and patients in your Patient- Centered Medical Home. You benefit from early mentorship and 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 have a faculty director who will provide guidance and support during your program. You save a year of medical school tuition and have a direct pathway to residency training at Cooper.

Most of your clinical time is 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 unit with a focus on new models of care, the epidemiology of urban health/disease and the use of unique resources to provide affordable, effective health care in underserved urban health areas.

Do I need to choose between Internal Medicine and Pediatrics in order to apply?
Applicants are asked to identify an interest in only

one specialty when applying to PC3.

Can I complete another degree (e.g., PhD, MPH) and participate in the PC3 track?

Students in the PC3 track are expected to complete their medical school training in 3 years and immediately enter residency. Students wishing to take additional time for non-MD training should purse these options through the traditional 4-year curriculum.

Will I have primary care mentorship during the program?

You are assigned a primary care faculty and resident mentor during the PC3 track. Our hope is that you will establish long-lasting relationships that will benefit you through medical school, residency and beyond. There are 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 direct pathway to the Cooper Internal Medicine or Pediatrics Primary Care Residency Programs. This means that you are expected to meet the academic and professional standards required of all students, including passing Steps 1 and step 2CK before graduating from CMSRU. Students not meeting the academic standards transfer back to the 4 year track. Students meeting the academic standards will be highly positioned and ranked to match.

Can I apply to a residency program at another institution?

As of Fall 2021 students in the PC3 track may decide to apply to an Internal Medicine or Pediatrics residency program outside of Cooper. However, due to the structure of the PC3 curriculum, PC3 students in the 3rd year may not have completed all of the important curricular components at the time of residency application to guarantee a successful match result at a program outside of Cooper University Health Care.

Can I enter Family Medicine through this track?

Cooper University Health Care is beginning a Family Medicine Residency Program in 2022, However, there are no PC3 positions for Family Medicine at this time for the CMSRU class entering in 2022.

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.

What’s the difference between Primary Care Internal Medicine and Family Medicine?

Primary Care physicians trained in Internal Medicine take care of adults (18 and above) and may also practice some general gynecology. Family Medicine physicians have training in obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics and certain surgical procedures. For an in-depth comparison of the training and career of Internal Medicine versus Family Medicine, please see this explanation from the American College Of Physicians:

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 start earning a resident physician salary in what would have been your 4th year of medical school; you 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 or enter their chosen specialty may 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 work in multiple settings – not just primary care. Your residency learning occurs on Inpatient wards, in the Emergency Department, as well as in Intensive Care Units. You also have exposure to clinical care in subspecialty clinics and practice primary care in urban settings as well as in private or suburban clinics.

PC3 Program Highlights

Highlights of the Pediatric Residency Primary Care track
Residents in the Pediatric Residency Primary Care track 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. Residents have clinical months in Adolescent Medicine and Developmental/Behavioral Pediatrics, as well as exposure to Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Senior Pediatric residents may also participate in Cooper’s Global Health Initiative in Ghana.

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

Highlights of the Internal Medicine Residency Primary Care Track
Residents in the Internal Medicine Residency Primary Care Track experience additional outpatient clinical time; dedicated Primary Care didactics; elective opportunities in HIV Care, Addiction Medicine, Women’s Health and outpatient subspecialty clinics. Residents also provide care outside the office setting via home visits, rounding in subacute rehabilitation centers and via telephone medicine. Senior Internal medicine residents may also participate in Cooper’s Global Health Initiative in Ghana

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 is one with:

Application Process for PC3 Track

Once accepted to CMSRU, you may submit an application to the PC3 track.

You will be interviewed by faculty of the PC3 track and Cooper residency programs in a separate process in early spring.

Students wishing to apply should submit the following to pc3@rowan.edu:

Applications for the 2022-2022 application cycle will be open after October 2021. Applications must be submitted by March 1st 2022. Interviews will take place in April 2022, on or around the CMSRU Second Look Day.

Additional Information

For further questions about the program, you may contact:

Camille Henry, MD
Internal Medicine-Pediatrics
PC3 Director

pc3@rowan.edu