MEDICAL SCHOOLS: Applications Down, Minorities’ Rise
Fewer students are applying to medical school overall, but slightly more minority students are seeking admission, the New York Times reports. The number of medical school applications has "shrunk by a fifth in the last four years." Medical school applications declined 3.6% from last year, with the "sharpest" decline among white males. But the number of black men seeking admission to medical school increased 5% and the overall number of minority men increased 4% this year. However, the number of "non-Asian minority women fell slightly" during that time. The Times reports that many health officials are concerned about the "general decline over time in black, Hispanic and American Indian students" and that figures from the Association of American Medical Colleges indicate that "even with this year's admission figures, the number of underepresented minorities in medical school has dropped 15% since its 1994 peak, to 1,729 students from 2,022."
Fear of Managed Care?
Health professionals indicated that the overall decline in applications stems from a "growing disenchantment with life under managed care, coupled with blossoming opportunities in other fields." Dr. Jordan Cohen, president of the AAMC, said that the "strong economy" is offering potential applicants careers with better salaries that require "less onerous and costly training than medicine." Sindu Srinivas, president of the American Medical Student Association, said that aspiring doctors are "discouraged" by older physicians. "As a student you hear a lot of comments from practicing doctors: 'You shouldn't go into medicine now. It's not as good as it used to be.' And the media's played that up," Srinivas said (Schemo, New York Times, 10/27).