Massachusetts has asked four of its medical schools to allow all fourth-year medical students to graduate early to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have worked with the deans of medical schools in Massachusetts for initial graduation so that there is an individual cadre that can be licensed,” Marylou Sudders, state secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said Thursday during the governor’s daily coronavirus briefing.
The Brief_19, a Twitter account, which offers information about developments that are taking place during the pandemic, released images of documents sent to Boston University School of Medicine students. The post reads: “EXCLUSIVE NEWS BREAKING – Massachusetts became the first country to ask all medical schools to graduate all 4th-year students early, all deans on the board.”
** EXCLUSIVE NEWS BREAKING **
Massachusetts became the first state to ask all medical schools to graduate all 4th-year students early, all the deans in it. pic.twitter.com/9cyRAVknM5
– Brief19, your daily collection from SARS-nCoV-2. (@ Brief_19) March 26, 2020
The document is an email sent by Dr. Karen Antman, provost of the university’s Medical Campus and dean of the Faculty of Medicine. In it, he answered Sudders’ requests to state medical schools: Boston University School of Medicine, Harvard School of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine and Massachusetts University School of Medicine.
“After discussing with our university, all four Massachusetts medical schools have agreed to pass our 2020 class in April,” Antman wrote. “The Boston University School of Medicine Student Evaluation and Promotion Committee will review each student’s status and determine that students have completed all requirements for graduation on April 10, 2020.
“We anticipate that all students who complete their current assignments will have completed their requirements on April 10. Therefore we anticipate a virtual graduation date Friday, April 17, 2020,” said the email.
Massachusetts created a special licensing process that was accelerated, according to the email. “We know that you will have questions about licensing, and where and for whom you have the potential to work, and work quickly with Secretary Sudders and colleagues in other medical schools to get more information,” he said.
“Your class clearly passed one of the most medically challenging times of the last century, and will soon be an important part of our country’s response to the COVID-19 challenge,” Antman said.
Sudders said during a press conference that as soon as students graduated, the state was “ready to provide a 90-day license that is almost automatic” to increase the workforce for health care professionals.
Massachusetts has 1,838 confirmed cases of the corona virus, according to the Department of Health’s web site, and 15 deaths due to COVID-19, a disease caused by a virus. So far, the country has been able to test around 19,800 people.
In the United States, the total number of confirmed cases was 79,785, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, and 1,124 deaths.
Hospital doctor at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts, on March 18.
JOSEPH PREZIOSO / Getty