Medical School Enrollment Hits Record High in U.S.
Medical schools in 2007 admitted a record number of first-year students, according to a study released on Tuesday by the Association of American Medical Colleges, Bloomberg reports.
According to the study, 126 medical schools in 2007 admitted 17,759 students, a 2.3% increase over 2006, and 42,315 students applied to the medical schools, an 8.2% increase over 2006 (Sullivan/Keenan, Bloomberg, 10/17).
The study also found that the number of applications by black and Hispanic males increased by 9.2% in 2007, and the number of black men accepted and enrolled in medical schools this fall increased by 5.3%. Minorities account for 6% of practicing physicians in the U.S., even though blacks, Hispanics and American Indians comprise 28.8% of the U.S. population, CQ HealthBeat reports.
AAMC President Darrell G. Kirch said the group was "pleased to see interest in medicine as a career continue to increase," and it is "especially encouraged by the growing interest among students from groups historically under-represented in medicine."
However, Edward Salsberg, head of AAMC's Center for Workforce Studies, said it is "unclear" whether AAMC will meet its goal of increasing yearly enrollment in medical schools by 30% between 2002 and 2015 to prevent a predicted physician shortage.
Nicole Buckley, the group's spokesperson, in an e-mail to CQ HealthBeat, said while there was no clear explanation for the rises and falls in annual enrollments, the "fluctuations are cyclical in nature" and could be based on several factors, such as "ups and downs in the national economy and factors related to employment in general, changes in the health care system that redefine how doctors practice medicine, or changing perspectives on the financial and time investment that is required to become a doctor" (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 10/16).