Physician Shortage: Medical School Applicants Up 6.1%, More Residency Spots Needed
According to a report from the Association of American Medical Colleges, while applicants to medical schools have skyrocketed to their highest numbers ever, there is still a lack of residency spots available for training physicians.
"Students are doing their part by applying to medical school in record numbers. Medical schools are doing their part by expanding enrollment. Now Congress needs to do its part and act without delay to expand residency training to ensure that everyone who needs a doctor has access to one," said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD. The number of medical school applicants grew 6.1 percent to 48,014, surpassing the previous record set in 1996 by more than 1,000 students. First-time applicants were up 5.8 percent and the number of students enrolled in their first year of medical school exceeded 20,000 for the first time.
The report also noted the number of first time female applicants grew by 6.9 percent and the total number of men and women applying to and enrolling in medical school was fairly split. Additionally, this year's applicants reported a combined median MCAT score of 29.
This could be good news for the United States, which faces a physician shortage of more than 90,000 by 2020. However, Congress has not repealed the cap on federal support for residency training, which could mean a shortfall of physicians across several specialties.
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