Med schools look to up enrollment

Medical schools across the country are answering the Association of American Medical Colleges âÄô call for more doctors, according to a recent survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep and Admission. Eighty-five of the countryâÄôs 130 medical schools answered the survey, which indicated that 44 percent of those schools are considering raising their enrollments in the next few years. Amjed Mustafa, KaplanâÄôs director of pre-health programs, said the planned increases are probably the result of a doctor shortage projected in a well-known study by the AAMC. In 2006, the AAMC called for U.S. medical schools to increase their enrollment 30 percent by 2015 to deal with a shortage of 159,300 doctors, which it predicts by 2025. Of the 744,000 doctors in the U.S., 250,000 of them were over the age of 55, according to the AAMC study. The study also predicted that the number of Americans over the age of 65 would double, from 35 million to 71 million by 2030. Because of this aging population, they said the number of doctor visits would increase by over 50 percent. The University of Minnesota Medical SchoolâÄôs Associate Dean of Admissions, Paul White, said the Medical School increased its enrollment from 165 to 170 last year, and does not intend to increase the number in the near future. He said the increase was because the American Medical Association was calling on medical schools to train more doctors. The barrier to increasing enrollment further is finding enough places for third- and fourth-year students to complete practical training. Two years ago, the medical school admitted 183 students instead of the 165 it had normally been admitting, Hannah Shacter, the president of the American Medical Student Association at the University, said. That was because an above-average number of students took the school’s acceptance offers. The school has had to spread students out further than normal for their clinic days this year, she said. Next year, when her class enters âÄúclinicalsâÄù full-time, Shacter anticipates things being tight because of the limited number of hospitals currently available for teaching in the Twin Cities