The pandemic has placed a nearly unparalleled spotlight on doctors and nurses around the world, but at least one good thing has come out of it: more students than ever are applying for medical school.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the number of applications to medical school is up 18 percent in 2020, even as enrollment to undergraduate programs has decreased. AAMC credits this boost to the pandemic, which has highlighted the importance of reliable medical professionals and facilities as well as the visibility of respected medical professionals in positions of leadership, like Dr. Anthony Fauci.
At some medical schools, the jump is even more pronounced. Stanford University School of Medicine reported a 50 percent increase in applications. At Boston University School of Medicine, it was 27 percent.
Many medical school admissions representatives have started calling the phenomenon the “Fauci Effect.” In addition to leadership from prominent doctors, many schools are also crediting the pandemic with giving students more time to work on their applications and study for the Medical College Admission Test.
This boom is good news for the US medical system, which estimates that more than two out of every five now practicing doctors will reach retirement age in the next 10 years.
For doctors facing exhaustion and lack of resources during the pandemic, it’s a hopeful sign that despite it all, young students are stepping up to fill a void in public health with the inspiration of medical leaders across the country.