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April 9, 1960


JAMA. 1960;172(15):1656-1657. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020150080018

The supply of physicians in America for almost two decades after the great depression of 1929 increased steadily and provided a ratio of approximately 140 for each 100,000 persons. There appeared to be no critical shortage of professional personnel during this era, and those persons concerned with the planning for the number of physicians to be trained were relaxed and reassured. The rapidly rising birth rate since 1946, however, led to a proportionately greater increase in population than in the number of graduates of medical schools. The turning point occurred statistically in 1949. Even before the chronological peak occurred, concern over the adequacy of the then existing medical facilities was entertained. Since that time the ratio of physicians to population has diminished, without any immediate prediction of a reversal of this serious trend. According to the population statistician, there should be a 50% increase in the number of medical school

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