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October 30, 1967

The Relation of a Medical School to Its Surrounding Community: Medical Manpower—A Continuing Crisis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Public Health Service, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 1967;202(5):401-403. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130180067011

No word in the American vocabulary is more elastic than "community." We can stretch it to embrace the world, or tighten it to enclose a family or two. We use it literally to define a certain portion of geography, or figuratively to set apart a group of presumably kindred souls—the "scientific community," for example.

Therefore when we talk about the relationship between medical school and community we have to watch our language. Which community are we talking about in connection with which medical school functions? Also, which community are we talking about in connection with which medical schools? For it seems likely that there should be some difference in community relationships between one of the five medical schools serving the super-community of New York, on the one hand, and a medical school serving a state like Vermont or Nevada on the other.

Given this wide disparity of communities, is it