This has to be good news for pre-meds (right?)

In response to looming shortage of primary care physicians, several new medical schools have either been proposed or are already being constructed. By my count there at least four new schools already being built: The Commonwealth Medical College in Pa, Oakland in MI, Hofstra, and Virginia Tech-Carrilon. Three of those (Commonwealth, Hofstra, and VT) will be private. The thrust is, that by the time many of us are ready to apply there will be an additional ~500 seats in MD programs.

Moreover, plans are in the works–at the urging of several prominent medical interest groups–to expand enrollment at many existing state and private medical schools.

I can’t help but think this is good news for us : ) Being in law school (where there is a dizzying surplus of students, ipso facto, the market is fcked) it is refreshing to think of a profession that has a genuine need for new graduates. I think it’s an exciting time to be a pre-med.

I’m sure that there are externalities that I (in my exuberance) am not appreciating (i.e. are there enough residencies slots available to meet a surge in MD students?) but still, it sounds good to me : )

I can immediately think of a fly in this ointment: private med school loans seem to push people into lucrative specialties as opposed to primary care. There are vacancies in family med, peds, and internal med residencies now. The trick is going to be to figure out how to attract people to primary care.

Yes, there are loan repayment programs for primary care in underserved communities. I don’t know that such programs make a difference, though, when people are choosing a specialty. Primary care unfortunately isn’t attractive. You work harder for less money than docs in many of the “lifestyle” specialties. Sad but true, and I don’t know how to change that…


like Mary said, money’s a factor. However, we do live in uncertain economic times and the prospect of almost-guaranteed six-figure income for the rest of your life is attractive. For young people, the loans are less of an issue because they have 30-40 years to repay them. For older premeds with 20-30 years ahead of them, money may actually become a bigger issue, despite our alternative motivations for entering the field.

I’m going to venture a guess that we are going to see more military enrollment in the near future, as the Iraq deployment winds down and no new wars loom on the horizon. The military’s a pretty good deal; my armed forces classmates get full tuition plus stipend for living expenses, all books, equipment and fees paid for, and I have heard military residency pays better than private sector. Also, national health service corps and state-funded underserved scholarships.

But the problems with primary care need to be addressed, starting with the need to see 30-40 patients a day (!) to meet payroll.

There are plans on the books for another University of California medical school, at UC Merced

I was thinking that it would beneficial for non-trads b/c many of the more competitive (neurotic) traditional applicants are reticent to apply to a school that only has provisional accreditation. All new MD schools won’t be fully accredited until after they graduate their first class. I suspect that admissions for the first 3 classes that new med schools accept may not be as competitive as they will be once they gain full accreditation.

Well, on the one hand I concede the neurosis and competitive nature of the more traditional applicant, but on the other hand, you could argue the opposite: everyone’ll be gunnin’ for what they see as a “safety admit.” I wonder if the new schools will be swamped with applications. I guess we’ll find out!


I plan to apply to several of these schools, I desperately want into my state school but will go anywhere that takes me. I have been looking at VCU lately, any thoughts? I really don’t care about degree differences, but we won’t have a D.O. program here in Oregon for another 2-3 years.

One of my top 10 schools is a new school that is opening this year, of course by time I apply they will already have graduated their first class and be accredited. They are offering the first 40 students free tuition! I wish I were ready to go!!!

I’m really curious about the one VA Tech is opening as well. I can’t imagine that will be in Blacksburg.

I’m more interested in EVMS, so I guess we’ll see. In a year or three in my case.

VT-Carilion with be in Roanoke. FWIW.

  • starri Said:
I'm really curious about the one VA Tech is opening as well. I can't imagine that will be in Blacksburg.

I'm more interested in EVMS, so I guess we'll see. In a year or three in my case.

The VT-Carilion school will be in Roanoke - a gorgeous part of VA. I interviewed for and was offered a position at the Carilion System's #2 facility - the New River Medical Center. It was an essentially new - less than 5 years old - and they were just about to begin a major expansion due to the launch of the medical school. I did not see the flagship Carilion facility, but was told that while not as new, was allegedly prett damned spiffy.

I had a very hard choice between that offer and the one I actually ended up accepting here in Lafayette, IN. My decision to come here was based upon aspects that really would not pertain to med school questions/issues. But, I can attest to the fact that at least the teaching facility at New River would be excellent.

I know for a long time UVA had been sending some of their third- and fourth-years to Roanoke for one specific rotation, although for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was.

It’s not far from where I grew up, and I’m sure it will be a good thing for the local economy.