As Physician Shortage Approaches, Medical Schools Expand

May 6, 2016

Since 2002, U.S. medical school enrollment has increased by 25 percent, according to a new report.

The country is facing a physician shortage, and 10 years ago the Association of American Medical Colleges called for a 30 percent increase in enrollment by 2015.

Now, the AAMC’s new report shows that medical schools are responding: 20 new M.D.-granting medical schools have been established since 2002, and the country should reach the 30 percent benchmark by the 2017-18 academic year.

Across the country, medical schools are also more focused on serving diverse health needs. Last year, 84 percent of medical schools had -- or planned to establish -- policies focused on recruiting diverse students who want to work with underserved populations. Another 49 percent are focusing on students from rural communities.

Colleges of osteopathic medicine are also expanding particularly quickly. Using 2002 as a baseline, first-year enrollment in these institutions is expected to grow by 55 percent by 2020.

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