From the September 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
More specifically, 87 percent reported adding new or expanded extracurricular opportunities, 74 percent reported increased or expanded clinical rotations, 73 percent modified the required clinical rotations, 71 percent reported modified pre-clinical curriculum, 67 percent have redefined their admissions criteria and 60 percent have expanded their primary care faculty or resources.
Another boost to med school grads is taking place among osteopaths. Osteopathic physicians (D.O.s), like M.D.s, undertake four years of basic medical education followed by at least three years of internships, residencies, and fellowships. D.O.s use conventional methods of diagnosis and treatment, though they may place a greater emphasis on holistic methods. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine anticipates 5,020 graduating D.O.s in 2016, compared with 3,100 in 2007.
The challenge here is that graduation from medical school does not a physician make. Med school grads aren’t card-carrying physicians until they complete at least three years of residency programs. And the number of these federally funded programs, says the AAMC, has been frozen since 1997. So this means, while there may be more medical school graduates now and likely for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t automatically translate into more physicians hanging out their shingles.
Another concern among health professionals is the fact that there is still relatively little racial diversity among practitioners. The Association of American Medical Colleges notes that having a diverse group of health care providers improves access to and quality of care for racial and ethnic minority patients as well as enhancing patient satisfaction and choice, and improving the educational experience for medical students.
But we’ve got a ways to go on this front.
A University of California-San Francisco study found that in 2008, racial/ethnic minorities comprise about 37 percent of the 16,167 graduates from 130 medical schools, with some groups having made greater and more consistent gains than others. And the U.S. Department of Education found that minority nurses represent about 8.3 percent of all nurses.
While the overall graduation percentage is on par with the U.S. population, which is 16.3 percent Latino, 12.6 percent African American, 4.8 percent Asian, and 63.7 percent white, according to the most recent U.S. census, minority roles in nursing hold well below the respective population percentage.