AMA Wire

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

For Medical Students

Med school debt deters from meeting nation's care needs

AMA testimony at a recent public forum on excessive education debt outlined the societal implications of the mounting cost of attending medical school.

AMA Medical Student Section (MSS) Government Relations Advocacy Fellow John Corker explained that the growing debt burden shouldered by medical school graduates—which exceeds $200,000 for more than one-third of students graduating with education debt—can lead to a number of adverse effects for health care in the United States.

"The rising medical student debt burden presents a serious financial disincentive to us creating a representative and adequate physician workforce … needed to address the unique health care needs of this country," Corker said.

He noted that the daunting price of medical education deters many qualified students from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds from attending medical school. With recent health reforms seeking to eliminate health care disparities in the U.S. population, such financial considerations are obstacles to producing a physician workforce more reflective of the general population.

Corker also described the effect debt can have on graduates' career choices. Despite a growing shortage of primary care physicians, many students feel forced to choose higher-paying specialties. At the same time, physicians who have completed their training may steer away from high-need geographic areas in favor of locations offering higher pay.

Visit the AMA-MSS' "Advocacy and Policy Central" Web page for additional information about medical student debt and the AMA's work on this important issue for the nation.

Shape policy, attend special events at June meeting

Medical students can help set AMA policy and participate in a wide variety of events at the AMA Medical Student Section (MSS) Annual Meeting June 13-15 in Chicago. Register now.

In addition to AMA policy debate, the meeting features special events that can help equip students for their medical careers. Some of this year's highlights include:

Keynote address. New York Times bestselling author and Johns Hopkins surgeon Marty Makary, MD, will discuss his newest book Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care. Dr. Makary is co-developer of "The Surgical Checklist" and has chaired the World Health Organization's workgroup to measure surgical quality worldwide. Dr. Makary will speak from 10 to 11 a.m. June 15 in Regency A-C.

10th annual Medical Specialty Showcase. Interact with physicians from specialties represented in the AMA House of Delegates, including radiology, OB/GYN, orthopaedics and emergency medicine. Attendees also will receive information and assistance in career decision-making. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 15 in the Riverside East Exhibit Hall.

Innovations in Medicine. This special program will feature speakers who will create an intellectual chemistry that captures the audience's imagination and triggers exciting conversations. Speakers will share inspiring and thought-provoking talks that will focus on innovations across health care and medicine. Talks run from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on June 14 in the Riverside East Exhibit Hall.

AMA Welcome Reception. Mingle with friends and colleagues and find out which of the proposals to transform medical education submitted by more than 80 percent of the nation's medical schools have been selected as part of the AMA's $10 million Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative. This festive evening of lively conversation, food, drink and relaxation will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

Visit the AMA-MSS meeting Web page to learn more about the meeting, including the schedule and accommodations.