Wednesday, May 1, 2013
For Medical Students
Mitigate med student debt, AMA urges federal agency
In a recent letter to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the AMA urged the agency to make systematic changes to address unprecedented levels of medical student debt.
"Medical education remains the most expensive post-secondary education in the United States, with over one-third of all graduates carrying debt balances of more than $200,000," the letter states.
The average medical school debt for graduates with loans is $166,750, according to research by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Meanwhile, the United States is expected to face a shortage of 130,000 physicians across all specialties by 2025, which will have a profound impact on health care access, quality and costs—especially for Americans who are already underserved.
"Reducing medical student indebtedness promotes diversity within medicine and may contribute to a reduction in the shortage of physicians in primary care as well as other undersupplied specialties," the letter states. "Fair, low interest rates, tax relief, tuition assistance, loan forgiveness and repayment programs, and the availability of affordable payment plans lower barriers to medical education for disadvantaged students."
"In addition, borrowers with less debt burden are more likely to start careers in medical education and research, practice medicine in medically underserved areas, or enter careers in public health service," the letter explains.
The AMA recommended the following actions to address medical student debt burdens:
- Making medical student loan interest rates variable and capped at no more than 5 percent.
- Creating income tax exemptions for medical student scholarships.
- Making medical student loan interest fully tax deductible for borrowers.
- Creating more opportunities for debt relief through tuition assistance and loan forgiveness programs.
- Maintaining sufficient funding for the National Health Service Corps as well as other federally supported medical student loan repayment programs for providing care in underserved communities.
Visit the AMA Medical Student Section's Advocacy and Policy Central Web page to learn more about this issue.
Inspire the next generation of minority physicians
Join members of the AMA Medical Student Section (MSS) and Minority Affairs Section in sharing your passion for the profession with more than 600 elementary students June 14 at the Rachel Carson Elementary School in Chicago.
This community outreach event is a part of the AMA's Doctors Back to School™ program, which was created to attract more students from historically underrepresented minorities to a career in medicine, and the AMA-MSS' National Service Project, which features health and wellness education and activities.
All attendees of the Annual Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates are invited to participate in this inspiring event, which will take place at 8–11:30 a.m. Bring your white coat, scrubs and stethoscope. Transportation will be provided from the Hyatt Regency Chicago and back after the event.
Sign up by May 31 via the AMA Annual Meeting registration page. Select the "Doctors Back to School Health and Wellness program" listed under "other events." If you have questions about the event, email the AMA-MSS.
Specialties guide can help with career decisions
AMA medical student members have exclusive access to a helpful resource guide that can help them choose a career path.
Choosing a Medical Specialty: The AMA's Resource Guide for Medical Students offers detailed snapshots of the most common specialties and subspecialties with data from the Graduate Medical Education Directory, FREIDA Online and specialty associations. Specialty summaries include skills required to succeed in a specialty, interaction with common types of patients, guidance about work-life balance and more. AMA members can log in to access the guide.
In addition, AMA members can attend the AMA Medical Student Section's 10th annual Medical Specialty Showcase, June 15 in Chicago, and meet physicians from a variety of specialties, including radiology, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopaedics, and emergency medicine. Physicians on hand will provide an introduction to their specialty and offer materials to help with career decisions.