Medical School Enrollment at All-Time High

Oct 24, 2012

A new report out from the Association of American Medical Colleges says medical school enrollment is up, and that we’re on track to increase it 30% by 2016.

Here are the numbers:

More than 45,000 students (45,266) applied to attend medical school in 2012, an increase of 3.1 percent. First-time applicants, considered to be a barometer of interest in medicine, set another record, increasing by 3.4 percent in 2012, for a total of 33,772 applicants. First-time enrollment at the nation’s medical schools grew 1.5 percent to 19,517 students, an all-time high.

But the report cautions that we won’t be able to train all those doctors completely unless Congress lifts the so-called “residency cap” that has limited funding for residency positions – in which doctors receive the additional three to seven years of on-the-job  training they need to become practicing physicians – to what they were in 1997. Plus, many believe we’re about to face a serious doctor shortage, although there’s not complete agreement about that.
There are quite a few proposals on the table to change the way we pay for that graduate medical education, and as many opinions about whether or not we’re facing a doctor shortage or even if more doctors are the answer to some of our most pressing health care concerns, which I covered here on the Future Docs blog.