CORRECTION: A previous version of this article contained an incorrect organization name and incorrect statistics, that information has been corrected.

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — Normally it takes eight years for students to attend medical school before they earn their degrees. In May 2023, Elmira College and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) Elmira Campus partnered together in establishing an accelerated six-year Bachelor of Science (BS) to Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program geared towards helping students graduate medical school in six years instead of eight; in hopes to address the current shortage of primary care doctors.

Some of the factors linked to the shortage of doctors involve the amount of time that goes into training the students along with the expenses tied to it. With LECOM and Elmira College cutting the required years from eight to six, it will be less expensive for the students.

Students will receive a Bachelor of Science in Biology after finishing two years at Elmira College and the third year will be spent at both Elmira College and LECOM, followed by another three years at LECOM to receive a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.

With students from around rural communities enrolling in the program, LECOM and Elmira College hope that students will translate the skills they learn into becoming doctors around their home environment.

“Because of that shortage in primary care, having students that come to Elmira from rural areas have that experience, and they want to serve back in a rural community,” said Dr. Lynn Gillie, Professor of Biology and Pre-Health Coordinator at Elmira College. “So having that pipeline here to Elmira or from Elmira to LECOM is really important,” they said.