What is "fast-tracking?"
Fast tracking, or short tracking, is an option that some residents do who are interested in pursuing academic medicine in a certain subspecialty. People who fast track complete their IM residency in 2 years, instead of 3 years, and then start their fellowship after their second year. The catch to it is that they have an extra year of research added on to their fellowship, so it does not save them any overall time. Advantages of fast tracking include: the ability to pursue a more in-depth research project as a fellow in order to jump-start one's academic career; and less overall clinical training time (some may view this as a disadvantage). A major disadvantage is that in order to fast track, the resident must pretty much know which subspecialty they want to pursue before they even start residency, because they will have to apply for fellowships early in their intern year, and they will not have enough time to adequately explore most subspecialties. Most people who fast-track have MD/PhD's or have already done extensive research in their intended subspecialty. In order to short track, you must get permission from your residency program, then apply and get accepted to a fellowship program as a short-tracker. You do not have to stay at the same institution as your residency in order to short track, although that is the most common way to do it.