Court Says MCAT Must Follow State Disability Rules
A California court has ruled that the AAMC must follow California and not federal guidelines when deciding which test-takers are entitled to special accommodation on MCAT exams administered in that state. California’s guidelines would mean extending testing accommodations such as extra time to more test-takers, including those with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. California medical school officials say that the change, if implemented, could cause them to change the way they use MCAT scores in admissions decisions.
Brown Medical School Plans Increased Enrollment
The Brown Medical School plans to continue increasing its intake of first-year students over the coming years until it reaches a target class size of approximately 105 students. Brown, which is one of the smallest U.S. medical schools, already increased its enrollment by a quarter, going from 73 first-year students in 2005 to 92 in 2006. Brown has also increased the proportion of first-year students it accepts from outside its Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME). 33 non-PLME students entered Brown through the School’s standard admission process this fall, compared to just 11 in 2005.
Med School Applications & Enrollment Grew in 2006
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reports that medical school applications and enrollment both increased from 2005 to 2006.
The number of people applying to M.D. programs increased for the fourth year in a row, going from 37,373 in 2005 to over 39,000 in 2006.
First-year medical school enrollment increased by 2.2 per cent, reflecting efforts by many schools to expand their class sizes. Schools that have increased enrollment include the Boston University School of Medicine (up by 15 per cent), Brown Medical School (up by 25 per cent), and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (up by 10 per cent).
Practice CB-MCAT Available Online from the AAMC
The AAMC has a website with a free practice version of the computer-based MCAT. Users can access additional practice tests and other features by purchasing a subscription. To learn more, go to e-mcat.com.
2007 MCAT Registration Begins in Mid-November
Registration for the January 2007 administrations of the MCAT will open on November 15. Registration for test dates in April and May opens on December 13. Test-takers are advised to register early. Many test centers have limited seating and late registrants may not be able to secure seats at their preferred locations or on their preferred dates. For more information, see the MCAT section on the AAMC webpage.
Demographics for Harvard Medical School’s Class of 2010
165 new first-year students began classes at Harvard Medical School this fall. The students, who were selected from a pool of almost 6,000 applicants, range in age from 19 to 37, with 23 being the median. The class is almost evenly divided between men and women. Over half of the students identify themselves as students of color, and 19 per cent are identified as members of an underrepresented minority.
U. of Minn. Lets Students Finish Degrees at Their Own Pace
The University of Minnesota is the second year of an innovative project meant to help students control tuition costs and give them more flexibility in the amount of time they take to finish their degrees. Under the Med 2010 plan, each student’s tuition is frozen at the rate in effect when they begin classes. Students are then able to take between 3.5 and 6 years to finish the 11 semesters of classes required for the M.D. degree. Associate Dean Kathleen Watson told the campus paper that students work closely with mentors to ensure that they are mastering the skills and knowledge they will need to perform as physicians in a rapidly changing health care climate. “The idea is to be competency-based, not time-based,” she said.
White Coat Ceremonies Held at Med Schools Nationwide
Medical schools across the US have held White Coat Ceremonies in recent weeks to welcome their incoming classes of first-year medical students. SUNY Upstate welcomed 152 new students; Tulane, 165; the University of Kentucky, 103; Michigan State, 106; and UCLA, 170. The White Coat Ceremonies typically take place at the end of new student orientation and invite family members, faculty, and fellow students to look on as incoming students don their white coats for the first time and recite an oath of service.
U of Rochester Seeking to Expand Financial Aid
The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry has almost reached the $10 million goal it set last year for an for an expanded scholarship fund. To date, the School has raised $7.7 in donations and $1.6 in pledges. The $10 million fund is expected to generate an additional $600,000 per year for student aid. UR already distributes over $3 million per year in scholarships and grants.
Majority of Med Students Support Universal Health Care
About 80 per cent of US medical students who replied to a survey on health care management issues said that they support some kind of universal health care plan, Academic Medicine reports. Approximately 82 per cent of first-year students and 81 per cent of fourth-year students rated extending health care to the uninsured as either “important” or “extremely important.” Almost all students agreed with the statement that ‘everyone is entitled to adequate medical care regardless of ability to pay.’ The study’s authors believe that these findings may indicate greater support for universal health care policies among medical professionals in the future.
U. of Kansas Gets $2m for Geriatric Medical Education
The University of Kansas School of Medicine has received a $2 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to expand its geriatric medicine education program. The money will be used to finance the new Kansas Reynolds Program in Aging, which will provide comprehensive training in geriatric medicine to postgraduate resident physicians. Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Brown also received geriatric medicine education grants from Reynolds.
Avoiding Common Pitfalls When Applying to Med School
Roughly 37,000 doctor-hopefuls will apply to medical school this year. Most won’t get in. That’s a somewhat depressing statistic if you’re getting ready to apply to a med school program. So what can you do to escape the grim fate of failure and help your chances of receiving that coveted acceptance letter?
USN&WR Names Top Hospitals
US News & World Report has released its 2006 rankings of U.S. hospitals. The top 5 hospitals it named are:
Johns Hopkins Hospital (affiliated w/JHU School of Medicine)
Mayo Clinic (affiliated w/Mayo Medical School)
The Cleveland Clinic (operates the Lerner College of Medicine in cooperation w/Case Western Reserve University)
Massachusetts General Hospital (affiliated w/Harvard Medical School)
UCLA Medical Center (affiliated w/UCLA Geffen School of Medicine)
AAMC Wants 30% Higher Med School Enrollment
The Association of American Medical Colleges has doubled its estimate of the number of additional medical students needed to meet future U.S. healthcare needs. In a written statement, the AAMC called for a 30 per cent increase in medical school enrollment by 2015, less than a year after recommending only a 15 per cent increase. The Association believes that goal can be achieved by expanding enrollment in existing medical programs and by establishing new medical schools.
UVa Launches Post-Bac Pre-Med for Career Switchers
The University of Virginia has admitted the first class of students to a new post-bac pre-med program designed especially for career changers. The intensive, year-long program teaches chemistry, biology, physics, and organic chemistry, and provides career-oriented volunteer opportunities as well as an MCAT prep course. Enrollment will be kept low to ensure that students receive individualized mentoring. The 19 students in the inaugural class were selected from 68 applicants. They have an average undergrad GPA of 3.5 and come from schools such as Duke, Dartmouth, and UC Berkeley.
Wake Forest Expands Medical Research Training Program
The Wake Forest University School of Medicine has increased enrollment in its Medical Research Training Program by 15 per cent, going from 46 students last year to 53 students this year. The program provides medical students with a paid, 12-week assignment during which they work closely with faculty mentors on a medical research project. The program is meant to encourage more young physicians to consider a career in academic medicine.
Indiana Wants Students with Compassion
The Indiana University School of Medicine is looking for students who share its relationship-centered approach to health care. The School’s relationship-centered care initiative, begun in 2003 with funding from the Fetzer Institute, seeks to train physicians who are attentive to relationships with and between their patients, colleagues, nursing staff, and family members. One of the program’s goals is “to preserve the values that they (the students) brought with them to medical school,” Associate Dean Dr. Thomas Inui said in an interview with the Indianapolis Star. First-year students are briefed on the relationship-centered care approach during orientation, and are encouraged to discuss their learning experiences with other students throughout the program. A third-year student described the initiative as “a low-key program” that provides daily reminders that “good things come from everyday activities.”
Duke Ends Family Physician Residency Program
The Duke University Medical Center is ending its highly regarded family physician residency program because of declining interest among medical graduates in family practice. Duke was only able to fill 2 of the program’s 6 first-year slots in the 2006 National Resident Matching Program. In earlier years, Duke had been able to fill three classes of 13 residents each. Duke will continue to offer fellowships to family physicians who want to gain expertise in the Center’s team-based approach to primary health care.
UC San Diego Puts More Focus on Patient Care
The UC San Diego School of Medicine is in the midst of a “cultural shift” that will put as much emphasis on patient care as on research and training, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Outgoing Dean Ed Holmes devoted much of his 5-year tenure to recruiting faculty who shared his vision of UCSD as a more patient-centered institution. His initiatives include hiring 100 additional physicians over the past 3 years; employing additional administrative personnel to support patient services; and updating the School’s equipment, particularly that used for clinical imaging, non-invasive surgery, and cardiac and cancer treatment.
AMCAS 2007 Now Online
Medical school applicants can begin compiling their primary applications for fall 2007 admission to US medical schools through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) website. For more information, go to https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/.
NYU Application Volume Dips
The NYU School of Medicine received 7,572 applications this year, down from 8,027 last year. The School enrolls a class of 160 first-year students each fall.
Community Involvement Essential in Med School Admissions
The directors of admission at four medical schools all told a Stony Brook University student newspaper reporter that volunteer experience is essential in gaining admission to an M.D. program. University of Virginia assistant dean of admission Beth Bailey told the reporter that “it’s a very negative flag” when an applicant shows no evidence of community involvement. She said that admissions committees will make some exceptions for students who are working to support themselves or their families, in the sense that they do not expect those applicants to devote as much time to volunteer or community work. However, they still want to see some indication that an applicant is committed enough to the idea of service to have contributed something to their school or community.
Yale Med Accepts 4.8% of ’06 Applicants
The Yale School of Medicine has extended admission offers to 176 of its 3,698 applicants for 2006, making for an acceptance rate of 4.8 per cent. Yale’s applicant pool was marginally smaller this year than it was in 2005, when applications to Yale hit an all-time high of 3,708. Yale expects to enroll a class of about 100 students this fall.
Nationwide, the number of people applying to US medical schools during the 2005-2006 admission season grew by about 4.6 per cent over the previous year, to 37,364.
2007 US News & World Report Rankings Posted
US News & World Report has released its rankings of top medical schools for 2007.
The top 10 medical schools for research are:
- Johns Hopkins
- The University of Pennsylvania
- UC San Francisco
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Duke University
- Stanford University
- University of Washington
The top 10 medical schools for primary care are:
- The University of Washington
- The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
- Oregon Health and Science
- Michigan State Univ. College of Osteopathic Medicine
- University of Massachusetts – Worcester
- Duke University
- East Carolina University
- University of Colorado – Denver
- University of Wisconsin – Madison
- UC San Francisco
HMS Admits 4.2% of ’06 Apps, Drops Minority Subcommittee
The Harvard Medical School has extended admissions offers to 4.2% of its applicants for 2006, the Harvard Crimson reports. HMS received 4,683 applications during the 2005-2006 season.
The Crimson also reported that HMS will no longer send applications from under-represented minorities to a dedicated subcommittee for review. HMS will instead pursue its commitment to diversity by seeing that each minority applicant is interviewed by at least one minority admissions officer. The revised procedure, which spreads review of minority applications across all subcommittees, is believed to be more in keeping with legal opinion on what differentiates affirmative action programs from illegal quota systems.
Med Schools See Growing Need for Geriatric Specialists
Medical schools are concerned that the number of M.D.s with a knowledge of geriatrics is not keeping pace with the growth of the population aged 55 to 64, which will represent the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population for the next decade. The shortage is exacerbated by the fact that geriatric medicine requires a more holistic approach to medical care than is commonly taught in med schools. “The way medical schools are these days, we concentrate mostly on organ systems when a patient is sick,” an associate professor of geriatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences recently told the AAMC Reporter. “When you’re in geriatrics, you really get a chance to concentrate on the entire person.” UAMS is one of several U.S. medical schools that have established month-long geriatrics ‘clerkships’ with funding from the AAMC and private foundations. The clerkships teach medical students to interact effectively with elderly patients and to recognize and respond to the various issues — including economic, social, and psychological factors — that can affect elderly patients’ health and the success of their medical treatments.
Mature Med School Applicants Are in Demand
Older applicants often feel at a disadvantage in applying to medical school – and in the world of medical school admissions, ‘older’ can mean someone still in their late 20s.
Recently, however, the journal Physicians Practice listed the advantages that older applicants bring to medical school admissions and to medical practice: 1) Their life experience and family responsibilities prepare them to do a better job of relating to patients. 2) They tend to have more realistic work expectations and to show less frustration with the pressures of managed healthcare systems and stressful workplace relationships. 3) Barring evidence to the contrary, they can be assumed to be truly committed to a medical career – after all, they’ve tried and moved on from other career paths, and are putting significant time and effort into pursuing medical school admission.
The maturity that older applicants bring to patient relations once they become practicing physicians is also especially valued as baby boomers age and require more medical care. Gwen Garrison, director of student and applicant studies for the Association of American Medical Colleges, assured the reporter that older graduates are welcome as practitioners. “We need everybody going through the system,” she said. “If you’re 45 and have the skills, we need you.”
What Makes Yale Med School Special
Dr. Herbert Chase, who has served the Yale School of Medicine as deputy dean for education for six years, noted in a farewell interview with the Yale Daily News ;that Yale is different from other medical schools in that it requires students to write a thesis. The requirement “was groundbreaking” when it was introduced in the 1920s and remains so today, Chase said. It forces students to learn to think like researchers. “Most medical schools teach science, but they don’t teach students to become scientists,” Chase said. Chase also won praise at Yale for the initiatives he took to improve clinical training and to reward excellence in teaching. He is leaving Yale to take up a research position at Columbia University, where he will study whether taking a research approach to medical problems makes for better doctors.