Thursday, April 07, 2005

They Never Mentioned this on ER

Something troubling brought to my attention via Compton. The New England Journal of Medicine reports on how rising rates of incurred debt from graduate medical programs are turning our would-be Doogie Howsers into nothing but a bunch of Vinnie Delpinos:

By 2004, the debt had increased to $105,000 for public school graduates and $140,000 for private school grads.

Since pre-meds are too busy studying pretentious pretty things like "Organic Chemistry" they come out of school with little knowledge of money management. Start them a couple hundred thou down with little managing experience and these young men and women are getting harsh introductions into the real world.

The results are what you might expect. The article explains that 60% of med students come from the top quintile (fifth, I looked it up) of income. As the population becomes more diverse, doctors are becoming more homogenous (see: rich and white). While 1 in 8 Americans are black, only 1 in 20 doctors are black. Interesting blog here.

My main beef with this trend is that we are diluting our talent pool. By scaring off young geniuses with prospects of debt, and denying access to so many great minds in lower income brackets, the medical profession is producing less LeBron James' of neurological surgery (plenty of Stacy Augmon's however). I support this claim with a little diddy by my main motherfucking man Mark Twain in Connecticut Yankee:

The master minds of all nations, in all ages, have sprung in affluent multitude from the mass of the nation, and from the mass of the nation only - not from its privileded classes.

Twain was a clever feller, med schools should take note. If states don't want to increase education budgets we will soon be seeing a vast surplus of plastic surgery degrees and somethig like the importation of general practitioners from places like India or even Indiana.


Blogger Otter said...

AMEN! I grew up working class. If it hadn't been for a military scholarship, I couldn't have afforded even the state school, much less the private med school I attended.

Furthermore, before the Navy took me, I was checking on financial aid. I was told that there were no need-based scholarships, only academic. QUOTE from woman at Financial Aid office, "We're not going to give you money so you can go to school to make a million dollars."

To this day, I have not given one penny to my old med school. I recently got to tell the new Dean why.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fine Twain quote, very savvy.

3:02 PM  

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