The Association of American Medical Colleges has been pushing to expand the number of doctors trained across the United States. They have been encouraged new schools to open and existing schools to expand the number of available seats. The goal is to enroll 21,000 first-year students by 2015.
This year’s total, 18,665, represents a 1.5% increase over last year, and a step toward achieving the organization’s goal. It helped that overall applications also increased by a little more than 1%, to 42,742. (For those of you doing the math, it’s a nearly 44% acceptance rate).
The larger pool of incoming students also reflects greater racial and ethnic diversity. Hispanic males, in particular, increased 17% over last year. All minority groups except Native Americans and Pacific Islanders registered a rise in first-year enrollments.
Sadly, these gains were accompanied by a homogeneity of socio-economic backgrounds. Eighty percent of applicants over the last 10 years have come from the top two income quintiles. It’s important to have a medical profession that reflects the ethnic diversity of the population, but it’s just as crucial to train doctors from working class and poor families.