Providence R. I (WJAR) — More than 30 fourth-year Brown University medical students are graduating six weeks early to work on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many early graduates are staying local to work in field hospitals around Rhode Island, starting as early as next week.
It’s entirely optional.
Students who decide to graduate early are given two options: work in the hospitals they were matched for residencies, or spend four to eight weeks in clinical positions in Rhode Island before residencies in June.
Temporary licenses to practice will be granted for those who stay the Ocean State, working at Lifespan or Care New England.
“They will still be in a position where they have to be supervised in everything that’s done by an attending physician,” said Dr. Allan Tunkel, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education at the Warren Alpert Medical School. “Given our strong partnership with our health systems here in Rhode Island, it really seemed an easy way to move things forward.”
Tunkel says hospitals in New York and Massachusetts are allowing medical students to graduate early, and many students are already volunteering at Rhode Island Department of Health and COVID call centers.
Dr. Anastassia Gorvitovskaia and Dr. Michael McGary will work at a Lifespan field hospital before leaving for their emergency medicine residencies at Mt. Sinai in New York City and University of Chicago in Illinois.
“I think both Mike and I chose emergency medicine probably because we are adrenaline junkies and we like to get in there and help out,” Gorvitovskaia said. “I’m excited because I want to go out and do something.”
McGary adds, “Brown and Rhode Island gave me my medical education, and if there’s anything I can do to help and give back to this great state and this university, I’m going to do it.”
A virtual degree conferral is scheduled for May 24.