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Courtesy of UNM Hospital

Courtesy of UNM Hospital

Meeting to fast-track med students graduation canceled

A Board of Regents meeting that would have graduated medical students early was canceled Monday after a residency accreditation body issued new guidance on the matter. 

The cancellation comes as some medical schools across the United States, but largely in the pandemic’s American epicenter of New York City, are graduating students ahead of schedule to bolster hospital ranks to handle surges of COVID-19 cases. 

Health Sciences Center Public Information Officer Alex Sanchez said that some medical students at the University of New Mexico had expressed interest in early graduation as a means to assist the fight against the coronavirus last week. 

In order to do that, the Board of Regents would consider approving the early graduation during a special meeting scheduled for April 7.  

However, guidance issued by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the medical accrediting body for residencies, significantly complicated the premise of early graduation, according to Sanchez. 

That guidance was issued April 3. 

Specifically, ACGME warned that institutions handling the brunt of COVID-19 cases in an area, like UNM Hospital, were “ill-prepared” to adequately train incoming residents.

“Furthermore, and well documented in the lay press, these same medical students have been removed from fourth-year clerkships in these same institutions due to inadequate supplies of PPE,” a public statement from ACGME said. 

As of the publication of this article, no new Board of Regents meeting has been scheduled. 

Justin Garcia is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at on Twitter @Just516garc 

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