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Research Letter
Physician Work Environment and Well-Being
October 2017

Distribution of Medical Education Debt by Specialty, 2010-2016

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York
  • 2Center for Health Care Innovation, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 3Department of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
  • 4Veterans Affairs Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 5Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 6Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(10):1532-1535. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.4023

Among medical students graduating with educational loans, the mean debt was $32 000 in 1986, which is approximately $70 000 in 2017 dollars.1 Rising tuitions and a growing reliance on loans increased mean medical education debt to $190 000 by 2016.2,3 Alongside these well-known trends is a quieter increase in the proportion of graduates without debt. The combination of these observations suggests a concentration of debt among fewer individuals—a finding that is obscured by population means.1 We sought to analyze the trends in the distribution of medical education debt by focusing on the increase in graduates without such debt.

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