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May 16, 1990

Medical Education

JAMA. 1990;263(19):2652-2654. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440190108057

Essential to any discussion about medical education in the future are the following three topics: the students, the educational process, and its content.

Perhaps one of the most heartening events that the Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC, can report is the apparent reversal of the decline in the number of young men and women who are applying to medical school. From 1974, when applicants for the entering class numbered more than 42 600, until 1988, when fewer than 27 000 applied, the number of applicants to medical schools declined by more than one third. No one hypothesis seems to explain fully the decline, and the profession has been justifiably concerned about why young people no longer find medicine attractive.

However, the situation is now looking brighter. The number of applicants for 1989 showed a 0.7% increase from the previous year (Association of American Medical Colleges, unpublished data, 1979).