New medical schools can provide a partial solution to the looming physician shortage.
According to projections by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States faces a shortage of over 90,000 physicians by 2020. To offset the pending shortage, U.S. medical schools are increasing enrollment both by expanding current programs and creating new ones.
Today, 18 new medical schools are in various stages of development. To obtain full accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (the national accrediting body for M.D. programs in the United States and Canada), potential new schools must undergo a five step process. The University of California Riverside, Quinnipiac University, and Western Michigan University, all of which received preliminary accreditation last year, are recruiting new students for fall 2013.
New medical schools have a rare opportunity to develop innovative educational models. Many schools currently under development are interested in creating more “team-based” learning programs and providing students with earlier clinical experiences. Furthermore, these schools are making a larger effort to encourage careers in primary care.
How do new medical schools affect potential applicants?
Students who are considering applying to a brand new medical school should weigh the pros and cons. New schools will likely have higher admissions rates, and many are already tied to well-established research institutions. However, a new school does not have data such as average USMILE scores or residency match rates to provide proof of a graduate’s success.
Furthermore, there will be no upper classes to provide mentorship for new medical students. In a recent Q & A session, Dr. Henry Sondheimer, the AAMC’s Senior Director of Medical Education Projects, addressed the issues that arise for medical school applicants who are interested in attending a newly accredited school.