If the United States acquires each year 1,200 physicians through immigration, and wanted to replace these by native graduates, it would have to build and operate 12 new medical schools. As one author points out, “The annual dollar value of this single ‘foreign aid’ to the United States approximately equals the total cost of all its medical aid, private and public, to foreign nations.”
This statement, in a recently published book,1 should make us pause. While we may dispute the figures to some extent, the concept helps us realize the magnitude of the aid that the “brain drain” brings to the United States, in medicine alone. Of course, the term is not restricted to medicine. In its general sense it refers to “the flight of scientific, technical, administrative, and managerial personnel from the developing countries to the developed countries,” and it involves the social and natural sciences, and all phases of technology, medicine, and administration.
The Brain Drain. JAMA. 2018;319(22):2340. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.12413
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