Posted on Dec 14, 1998

Albany, N.Y. (December 14, 1998) – Union College and Albany Medical College have created a combined-degree medical program that will educate and prepare physicians for the delivery of quality health care and provide enhanced training in managed care.

The New York State Education Department recently approved the new joint-degree “Leadership in Medicine” program. The eight-year program offers a bachelor of science (B.S.) in biology or chemistry and a master of science (M.S.) in health care management from Union College. A doctor of medicine (M.D.) degree is granted from Albany Medical College.

“The integrated program focuses on three areas essential for future leaders in medicine: knowledge of managed care, training in biomedical ethics and familiarity with other cultures,” said Robert Baker, Ph.D., Union professor of philosophy and chair of the committee that created the program. “There is no other graduate and medical program like this in the country.”

James Mandell, M.D., dean of the Albany Medical College, noted that this program builds on an existing joint program between the two institutions. The colleges will continue to offer a program that enables students to earn a bachelor's degree and medical degree in seven years.

“The Union-Albany Medical College joint program is an attempt to provide added educational value for the students,” Dr. Mandell said. “This program greatly adds to the study of economic and ethical issues, health-care management and community issues.”

“Medical education must anticipate rapid changes in health-care delivery, medical organization structure and medical technology to prepare the physicians of the next millennium,” added James Bennett, Ph.D., professor of surgery, pharmacology and neuroscience and chairman of the combined-degree admissions committee at Albany Medical College. “This program will begin exposing students early in their education to the business side of medicine and graduate physicians who are prepared to take the lead in the healing and management aspects of health care delivery.”

Students apply and are admitted to both institutions in their senior year of high school. In addition to the normal undergraduate work at Union leading to a B.S, degree, students also will complete an interdepartmental major in humanities or social sciences and a special program in biomedical ethics which will prepare them for extensive training in medical ethics which they will receive at Albany Medical College.

Students also will complete a term of study abroad where they will be exposed to the health care systems of other countries and a master's-level program in health care management at Union's Graduate Management Institute. Additionally, while they are at Union, students will have the option of also earning a master's in business administration (MBA) with five additional courses.

Students complete their last four years of study at Albany Medical College where they receive all of the coursework and training for a medical degree. At the Medical College, they also will obtain additional training in business administration aspects of medicine, medical ethics and the delivery of health care to diversified populations.

“Many of our local physicians are taking postgraduate courses outside of the region to help them respond to many of the changes in the business side of medicine,” Dr. Bennett said. “The new eight-year Leadership in Medicine program provides a local solution to this problem by capitalizing on existing strengths and resources at two prestigious educational institutions.”

The first class of students will be admitted to the program in the fall of 1999 and will graduate in May 2007.

“The students I have talked to are ecstatic about this new program,” Dr.Baker said. “They like the challenge and the idea of being part of a program that answers the national need to educate doctors to cope with managed care.”