FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: April Falconi 202-530-2310 [email protected] Future of Medical Schools to be Examined in Epoch of Expansion Washington, DC Medical school enrollment soon may be increased by 30 percent in order to meet the looming shortage of medical school graduates projected for the U.S. Little attention is being paid to the social mission of medical education during this expansion, however. To address this issue, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation has funded a two-year, $750,000 study titled, "The Medical School Futures Study" or MSFS, which will examine the social mission of medical education during this current period of expansion. The project will be housed at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (GW/SPHHS). "Expanding medical schools creates an exceptional opportunity to consider strategies to address chronic imbalances in areas such as minority enrollment, geographic distribution and specialty emphasis in U.S. medical education," states the studys principal investigator, Fitzhugh Mullan, MD, Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy at GW. The study will be led by Dr. Mullan and co-principal investigator, Linda Lesky, MD, associate professor of Medicine and Health Policy at GW. Additionally, an advisory committee composed of medical educators, specialty representatives, policy makers and representatives of organizations concerned with the future of healthcare will provide guidance to the project team. Specifically, the MSFS will examine the following issues from retrospective and prospective points of view: * Medical education and training in Primary Care/Generalism * Enrollment of minorities into medical schools * Geographic distribution of physicians Past legislative and education initiatives will be analyzed; current expansion activities will be assessed; and institutional, state and local policies pertinent to the social mission of medical education will be examined. The study will conclude with a set of findings and recommendations intended to offer perspectives and strategies to new or expanding programs of medical education in support of the social mission of medical schools. A website and an electronic community will be developed to disseminate policy briefs, data findings and relevant electronic links. The study will culminate with the publication of articles in the medical literature documenting the findings and recommendations, as well as general audience articles that will seek to communicate this same information to the public as a whole. "Medical schools cannot, of course, attend to the social mission of medicine by themselves. Many factorsincluding graduate medical education, practice opportunities and the economics of healthcareimpact physicians specialty choices and practice decisions," Dr. Mullan said. "However, if the schools do not have strategies in place to address these problems as part of their mission and vision, the current epoch of expansion will not realize its potential to reduce disparities in access to healthcare and to improve educational opportunities for minorities."