Michael E. Whitcomb’s new report highlights the motivating factors, challenges, and planning strategies faced by the six newest US medical schools and offers important lessons learned as they begin to enroll classes and implement academic programs. The report, commissioned by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, provides an update on medical school expansion, describes in detail the circumstances that led to the development of these additional schools, and the newest schools to receive preliminary accreditation status.
In 2001, Florida State University, a major research university located in northern Florida, established a new allopathic medical school on its campus in Tallahassee, the state capital. The school was the first new allopathic medical school established in the country in more than two decades. No new allopathic medical schools had been established during that time, in large part to the widespread belief within both the academic medicine and health policy communities that the country was on the verge of experiencing a major oversupply of physicians. However, in 2006, in response to the results of new workforce studies indicating that the country was actually going to experience a major shortage of physicians, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) issued a policy statement that called on existing medical schools to increase their enrollment in order to increase physician supply. The AAMC acknowledged in the report that new medical schools would also be needed in order to increase physician supply to the level required to address the physician shortage.
Since the policy statement was issued, 21 new allopathic medical schools that have already enrolled their charter classes have been established in the country. The factors that led to the establishment of the Florida State University College of Medicine in 2001 and the first 15 new schools established following the AAMC policy statement in 2006 were presented in reports published by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation in 2009 and 2013. The primary purpose of this report is to provide information about the six schools established since the 2013 Macy report was published. Each of the schools enrolled their charter classes during the years 2015-2017. As in the previous reports, the information provided deals almost entirely with the challenges faced by the institutions that established the six schools.
Finally, it should be noted that information now available suggests that there are a relatively small number of additional schools that are likely to be established in the coming years. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) has recently granted preliminary accreditation to two new schools that are likely to admit their charter classes in 2018, and is likely to consider granting preliminary accreditation to two additional new schools in early 2018. There are at present two additional institutions that are qualified to be considered for preliminary accreditation by the LCME during the coming year.