Blog | Friday, May 4, 2012

QD: News Every Day--More students want medical degrees; more schools want to enroll them


More students are seeking medical degrees and more schools are ramping up to accommodate them, some with an eye toward rural health and other underserved populations.

First-year medical school enrollment in 2016-2017 is projected to reach 21,376, a 29.6% increase above first-year enrollment in 2002-2003 that is just shy of the 30% targeted increase by 2015 that the Association of American Medical Colleges called for five years ago.

Combined first-year M.D. and D.O. enrollment at current schools is projected to reach 26,709 by 2016-2017, an increase of 37% compared to 2002-2003, AAMC reported in its "Results of the 2011 Medical School Enrollment Survey."

Of the projected 2002-2016 growth, 58% will be at the 125 medical schools that were accredited as of 2002. Twelve newly accredited schools since 2002 will absorb 25% of the growth, and the remaining 17% will come from seven schools that applied for or have candidate-school standing for accreditation. Without the seven applicant and candidate schools, enrollment growth wouldn't reach the 30% target until beyond 2020.

Other highlights include
--56% of the 2002-2016 enrollment growth has already occurred, with 2,850 of the projected 4,888 new slots already in place as of 2011.
--Of schools surveyed in 2011, 43% indicated they had targeted increases or planned to target increases in enrollment to specific population groups or to meeting the needs of underserved communities.
--The supply of qualified primary care preceptors concerned 74% of schools, while 53% were concerned with the supply of qualified specialty preceptors.
--Of schools surveyed in 2011, 52% indicated concern with their ability to maintain or increase enrollment due to the economic environment, a figure that held steady from the previous year./>

AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, said in a press release"But this won't amount to a single new doctor in practice without an expansion of residency positions."