The US is in the middle of a rapid expansion of its yearly output of MDs. This has resulted from both an expansion of the class size of many existing medical schools, and the addition of 16 new schools (with 4 more in the pipeline). What are the projected results on this expansion on the primary care physician workforce? This descriptive study compares cohorts from 1999-2001 and 2009-2011. Those schools which expanded a lot had a history of producing slightly more primary care physicians than those schools which did not expand (30.5% vs. 24.1% of graduates). New medical schools admitted more students from under-represented minorities, which has in the past been a predictor of primary-care career choice. Both of these trends might suggest an increase in primary care physicians in the future. However, the percentage of matriculants stating that they wanted to enter a non-primary care specialty increased from 34.4% in the early cohort to 50.3% in the later cohort.– Laura Willett, MD
Shipman SA, Jones KC, Erikson CE, Sandberg SF. Exploring the Workforce Implications of a Decade of Medical School Expansion: Variations in Medical School Growth and Changes in Student Characteristics and Career Plans. Acad Med. 88(12): 2013 Dec .