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November 22, 1985

Medical School Response to Physician Excess

Author Affiliations

Beth Israel Hospital Boston

JAMA. 1985;254(20):2892. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360200042014

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To the Editor.—  There is a general agreement about the qualitative accuracy of the 1980 to 1982 Graduate Medical Education National Advisory Committee (GMENAC) reports of a substantial, almost across-the-board surplus of US physicians. This is not surprising in the light of the almost doubling of the number of medical school graduates from 1970 to 1980, and a present ratio of 2.2 physicians per 1,000 citizens. What is surprising is the lack of public discussion about this problem.There is a divergence of opinion between the town and the gown medical communities regarding the implementation of the GMENAC recommendations. Medical school class size has diminished only minimally since 1982, and little further decrease is anticipated. Academic discussions of this issue have centered less on domestic medical school enrollment than on the related and also important questions of foreign medical graduates, distribution of physicians within medical specialties, and geographic maldistribution of