Friday, July 21, 2000 U.S. Medical Schools Should Raise Enrollments to Fill Residencies, Physician Argues By KATHERINE S. MANGAN Medical schools in the United States aren't producing nearly enough graduates to fill entry-level residencies, and should consider increasing their enrollments, a physician argues in this week's New England Journal of Medicine. For the past two decades, medical schools have graduated about 16,000 aspiring doctors a year. That's 28 percent short of the 22,320 entry-level residencies filled by new physicians last year. Graduates of foreign medical schools filled 25 percent of the new residencies. The remaining 3 percent were filled with graduates of osteopathic schools, which emphasize such nontraditional techniques as manually manipulating the body to fight disease. The author of the New England Journal article, Fitzhugh Mullan, is a former director of the Bureau of Health Professions. He thinks it's time the United States reduced its reliance on foreign-trained medical graduates and produced more of its own. "Teaching hospitals have hired thousands of graduates of medical schools elsewhere in the world, despite the large numbers of competent young people unable to obtain a medical education in this country," writes Dr. Mullan, who now writes for the journal Health Affairs. The president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, Jordan J. Cohen, calls the idea "intriguing," but impractical. The reason? Medical schools are struggling financially already, and accepting more students would only exacerbate their problems, he says. "The idea of increasing class sizes at a time when resources are severely constrained is very troubling," he adds. _________________________________________________________________ Chronicle subscribers can read this story on the Web at this address: http://chronicle.com/daily/2000/07/2000072101n.htm If you would like to have complete access to The Chronicle's Web site, a special subscription offer can be found at: http://chronicle.com/4free Use the code D00CM when ordering.