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November 25, 1968


JAMA. 1968;206(9):2109-2110. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150090185028

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The opinion is still widespread among members of the profession, members of Congress, and the general public that the present shortage of physicians is related in some way to a lack of interest on the part of American youth for entering the medical profession. In almost every article on this subject, a section deals with the fact that the cost of medical education is high and that the procedure is long and arduous, and that both of these matters will have to be corrected before the shortage of physicians can be relieved.

There is actually no basis for this kind of statement, since the supply of applicants to medical schools has never been a really serious problem. Even in the depths of the 1950's when the ratio of applicants to acceptances reached its nadir, the ratio was 1.7:1 and there were only two or three documentable instances in which medical