In a recent report, the Association of American Medical Colleges said applications to medical schools were up 18% nationwide in 2020 compared to 2019.
WASHINGTON – American medical schools have seen “unprecedented” growth in applicants this year, possibly due in part to increased concentration of heroic actions by frontline workers during the pandemic, according to a recent Association of American report Medical Colleges (AAMC).
According to the group, American medical schools have seen an 18% increase in applications compared to 2020.
In a statement sent to WUSA9, AAMC’s Senior Director of Student Affairs and Programs, Geoffrey Young, said the surge could be compared to the way some chose to serve in the military after September 11th.
“At least some of this year’s applicants have been motivated to get into medicine by the suffering caused as a result of COVID-19 and the heroism shown by our doctors and health and key frontline workers,” he wrote. “I would make an analogy to the time after September 11th, when we saw an increase in the motivated to serve in our armed forces. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly seems to play an important role this year. “
Governor Larry Hogan said the state’s projections suggest hospital admissions will hit a new all-time high in the next few days. ANNAPOLIS, Md.- Governor Larry Hogan said Tuesday the state of Maryland would take extraordinary steps to increase its supply of health workers in the face of rising coronavirus cases, including activating its reserve medical corps and encouraging colleges and universities to encourage students in health care to enable early completion.
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine has seen some of the surge firsthand.
On Wednesday, the Dean of the School of Medicine, Peter Buckley, said applications rose to 8,183 in 2020, after having sent around 7,300 in 2019.
“I’ve never seen anything like encouragement and interest in doctors and medicine,” he said. “Young people see this. They see it firsthand in their own communities.”
The AAMC noted that other factors could also be driving the surge, including students having more time to focus on applications after their courses go online.
Buckley added that applications from minority students have also increased, and the increase this year could possibly be related to the increased focus on health inequalities in some communities.
“This is critical to our efforts to tackle health inequalities over the long term,” he said. “You can literally see all the ideas for teaching tomorrow’s medicine today.”
Northern Virginia Community College also reported that nursing and health science applications continued to grow in 2020.
In a statement, Medical Education Campus director Nicole Reaves pointed to job losses in the service industry to play a role in the increase.
“The nursing program received a record number of applications for its approval in spring 2021, over 800 applications for 80 places. We definitely attribute the huge increase to the ‘pandemic effect’, ”she wrote. “According to the Department of Labor, nine out of 10 of the worst hit industries are in the service sector during the coronavirus recession. Many of our students who have worked in the service industry have lost their jobs and are aware that those jobs will be. They also recognize that healthcare jobs are the greatest return on investment, and not just financial. This pandemic has sparked an interest in health professionals and a call to service for students who have never considered entering health care. “
For the future, Dr. Buckley said the surge in medical school applications could have long-term positive effects on America’s health care system.
“This increase will affect not only more doctors, but more scientists and more opportunities for health care in general,” he said. “Overall, this can have a more lasting effect on personnel development. All of this should ultimately improve the health of Americans. ”
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