Medical Schools Forecast 17% Enrollment Hike over 5 Years
Anderson, Jane, Clinical Psychiatry News
First-year enrollment in U.S. medical schools is projected to increase 17% over the next 5 years to nearly 19,300 students, helping to ameliorate the real need for new physicians, according to an annual survey of medical-school expansion plans released by the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The estimated expansion would move U.S. medical schools to the halfway point of a 30% enrollment increase recommended by the AAMC in 2006.
However, a top official at the American Academy of Family Physicians said that although adding additional medical school slots is laudable, the real emphasis needs to be placed on creating more primary care physicians.
"We certainly agree that the aging population and expansion of the nation is going to result in an expanding need for health care services," said Dr. Perry Pug-no, director of the division of medical education for AAFP.
"But it's not just a need for more doctors," Dr. Pugno said. "We need more primary care physicians, especially family medicine doctors, to bring efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and better outcomes to the system."
The survey of 121 out of 125 U.S. medical-school deans took place last fall, and the information gathered was compared with that of the baseline academic year of 2002-2003, when first-year enrollment totaled 16,488 students.
Survey results indicated that total first-year enrollment in existing U.S. medical schools is projected to increase by 2,558 students (15. …