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July 1988

Social Engineering and the Supply of Internists

Author Affiliations

Department of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Professions Education University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(7):1497-1498. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380070015004

The ability of the federal government to implement change prescribed by evolving social policy is impressive. The perceived national physician shortage of the 1960s was addressed with federal financial support to medical schools that resulted in the doubling of the number of graduates from these schools in just over a decade. In similar fashion, the belief that the quality of human life could be improved through scientific research led to federal support for basic and clinical investigation. This has created a sizable population of well-trained biomedical scholars whose collective productivity is severalfold greater than two or three decades ago. Although not all of society's problems have been amenable to correction through federal financing, that mechanism has scored its victories.

See also p 1509.

The withdrawal of federal support has often been associated with an atrophy of the target activity. The hoped-for "continuing support" from state, local, and private sources has

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