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April 29, 1961


Author Affiliations

Iowa City.

JAMA. 1961;176(4):292-293. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040170038010

A crisis exists in medical education. Considerable attention has been devoted recently to the provision of buildings, equipment, and faculty for medical schools. The fourth and all-important component of medical education, without which other facets become meaningless, is the medical student. The crisis is this: Fewer and fewer college students wish to become medical students. One cause may be the great expense of a medical education.

These are the facts. The number of qualified applicants to medical schools has declined some 37% from 1949 through 1959.1 The decline is continuing. There is, in addition, a suspicion that the quality of those who do apply has fallen off. Failures during the first year of medical school have increased.

This decline has occurred despite three considerations which might be expected to increase the number of qualified applicants. These are (1) a steadily growing population which will need more and more physicians;