EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) — Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, frontline healthcare workers have been recognized as heroes. Students have been inspired by their work and as a result, medical schools nationwide are seeing a surge in applicants.
A report released by the Association of American Medical Colleges says applications for medical schools are up 18% this year compared to the 1% to 3% increase they typically see.
“When medicine is front and center either in media coverage or even something seemingly unrelated as a popular TV show, we see a spike in medical school applications,” said Dr. William Pieratt, Dean and Chief Academic Officer of the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The surge in medical school applications is being called the "Fauci Effect,” recognizing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci has played a significant role in America’s fight against pandemic for the past year.
“I certainly think that it is a result of increased recognition of the importance of the healthcare field and the impact physicians have on the health of the nation and our community,” said
Cynthia Perry, Assistant Academic Dean of Admissions for the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.
In El Paso, the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine is seeing a record number of applicants this year. The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in Las Cruces is also seeing a spike in applicants.
Borderland Medical Schools - Application Data:
“In a normal year we will get about 3,500 or so applications to fill 162 seats in our classes,” said Pieratt.
“This year we actually got 5,500 applications to our medical school. That’s for about 120 seats at the Foster School of Medicine,” said Perry. “That was actually quite a surprise to us. We were a little bit concerned heading into this application season with the pandemic that we would have a decrease in applications.”
Despite the increase in applicants, neither school will be able to accept more students into their class, making the competition to get into medical school even more fierce than it already is.
“We don’t necessarily have the ability to just expand because we have more applicants. We accept the number of students that were credited to enroll,” said Pieratt.