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Medical School Enrollment Continued Growth in 2010

No Increase in Physician Supply Likely Until Medicare Ends Freeze on Support for Residency Training

News Alert
June 20, 2011

In response to the increased need for physicians across the country, first-year enrollment in the nation’s medical schools continued to grow in 2010 despite more institutions citing economic concerns, according to the 2010 Medical School Enrollment Survey from the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). The survey indicates that M.D. enrollment is projected to reach 21,041 by 2015, 27.6 percent above 2002 enrollment and just below the 30 percent increase called for by the AAMC in 2006 in response to the nation’s physician shortages. Between 2002 and 2010, 80 percent of accredited medical schools increased their enrollment by two or more positions.

Some key findings from the survey include:

  • Combined first-year M.D. and D.O. enrollment in 2015 is expected to increase by 35 percent above the 2002 level, making the need for additional residency positions more critical than ever as 32 million Americans become insured under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Projections indicate medical school enrollment is on track to reach the targeted 30 percent increase by 2017 with the addition of seven new medical schools in the pipeline.
  • In 2010, 52 percent of schools indicated concern about their ability to maintain or increase enrollment due to economic considerations, compared to 39 percent in 2009.
  • Seventy-five percent of medical schools reported instituting or considering initiatives to encourage primary care career choices.

Despite continued efforts by medical schools to expand the physician supply, these efforts are unlikely to result in expanded access to care without expansion in residency training.


Brooke Bergen
Public Relations and Communications Manager
Telephone: 202-828-0419