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American Medical Schools and the Practice of MedicineA History$
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William G. Rothstein

Print publication date: 1987

Print ISBN-13: 9780195041866

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195041866.001.0001

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Medical School Enrollments and Admissions Policies

Medical School Enrollments and Admissions Policies

(p.282) 15 Medical School Enrollments and Admissions Policies
American Medical Schools and the Practice of Medicine

William G. Rothstein

Oxford University Press

After shortages of physicians developed in the 1950s and 1960s, federal and state governments undertook programs to increase the number of medical students. Government funding led to the creation of many new medical schools and to substantial enrollment increases in existing schools. Medical schools admitted larger numbers of women, minority, and low-income students. The impact of medical schools on the career choices of students has been limited. Federal funding for medical research immediately after World War II was designed to avoid politically controversial issues like federal aid for medical education and health care. The 1947 Steelman report on medical research noted that it did not examine “equally important” problems, such as financial assistance for medical education, equal access to health care, continuing medical education for physicians, or “the mass application of science to the prevention of many communicable diseases.” The same restraints prevailed with regard to early federal aid for the construction of medical school research facilities. Some medical school research facilities were built with the help of federal funds during and after World War II, but the first federal legislation specifically designed to fund construction of medical school research facilities was the Health Research Facilities Act of 1956. It provided matching grants equal to 50 percent of the cost of research facilities and equipment, and benefited practically all medical schools. In 1960, medical schools received $13.8 million to construct research facilities. This may be compared to $106.4 million for research grants and $41.5 million for research training grants in the same year. Federal grants for research and research training were often used for other activities. As early as 1951, the Surgeon General’s Committee on Medical School Grants and Finances reported that “Public Health Service grants have undoubtedly improved some aspects of undergraduate instruction in every medical school,” with most of the improvements resulting from training rather than research grants. By the early 1970s, according to Freymann, of $1.3 billion given to medical schools for research, “about $800 million was ‘redeployed’ into institutional and departmental support. . . . The distinction between research and education became as fluid as the imagination of the individual grantees wished it to be.”

Keywords:   Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs), Howard University medical school, Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Meharry Medical College

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