Note to Baby Boomers: You might dress, look and behave significantly more youthful than your forebears, but you are still getting older. That inexorably means retirement and declining health. Unfortunately, a ton of the doctors currently practicing will be retiring along with you. The solution? More medical schools to churn out more M.D.s.
After two decades in the ’80s and ’90s during which only one new medical school was opened in the U.S., approximately two dozen med schools have either recently opened or are in planning stages.
“Huge numbers of qualified American kids were not getting into American medical schools or going abroad to study,” explains Dr. Lawrence G. Smith, dean of the Hofstra University’s proposed School of Medicine. “I think it was a kind of wake-up call.”
Beyond this potential 18% increase in the number of U.S. medical schools, existing doctor factories are upping their enrollment and expanding their partnerships with established hospitals.
Proponents of the increase say this new crop of doctors will help to get medical care into currently under-served rural areas that are desperately in need of quality physicians. The naysayers fear that these new schools and expanded programs are merely going to be cranking out more of the same — doctors that gravitate toward the money in affluent urban and suburban neighborhoods.
Is more medical schools the solution? Or is there a better way to both care for our aging population and help those who need it most?
Expecting a Surge in U.S. Medical Schools [NY Times]