First-year enrollment in medical schools will increase about 17% to nearly 19,300 students by 2012, according to an annual survey of medical-school expansion plans by the Washington-based Association of American Medical Colleges.
The projection, which is dependent on state financial support and other unpredictable funding sources, still falls short of the AAMCs stated goal of boosting enrollment in the nations 125 medical schools by 30% through 2015. While 71 medical schools plan to expand class size over the next five years, Darrell Kirch, a physician who is president of the AAMC and has been warning about serious doctor shortages, said: We must find additional ways to stimulate more growth in medical-school capacity so that we have enough doctors to care for our nation in the coming decades.
AAMC officials said they expect five new medical schools to open by 2012, accounting for about 250 new students. Expansion of existing schools and the addition of branch campuses will add about 2,600 more students, the AAMC predicted. -- by Michael Romano