Indiana part of national medical school surge

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

One major concern with the health reform proposals in Congress was that they would overwhelm the nation’s already short-handed physician community while providing no new incentives to boost medical education. But with two dozen medical schools arriving on the scene, that issue might be getting the treatment it needs.

In Indiana, plans for a school of osteopathic medicine at Marian University fit right in with that national trend, reported on Sunday by The New York Times. But that potential growth is being mitigated by budget cuts at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

In order to slice $3.32 million from its budget this year, the IU med school is planning to reduce its annual enrollment by 40 students, to as low as 280 students per year. At that level, IU would return to its enrollment levels before it launched an expansion plan three years ago.

IU had expanded even though $3 million in state funding was approved but never released.

“We haven’t gotten any money,” Dr. Craig Brater, dean of the IU medical school, said in January. “We’re really struggling with whether or not [to keep growing].”

Marian University, which still needs to raise $45 million to launch its school, wants to enroll 125 to 150 students per year.

The wave of schools opening or planning to open is the biggest since the 1960s and 1970s, according to the Times. During the 1980s and 1990s, only one new medical school was established.

That made entrance into medical school notoriously competitive, even as a shortage of doctors loomed.

“Huge numbers of qualified American kids were not getting into American medical schools or going abroad to study,” Dr. Lawrence G. Smith, dean of a proposed school of medicine at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., told the newspaper. “I think it was a kind of wake-up call.”

In recent years, doctors groups nationally and in Indiana have called for a ramp-up in medical training to end a shortage that threatens only to get worse as aging baby boomers need more medical care at the same moment boomer physicians retire.

Indiana University medical school estimated in 2006 that the state is short 3,500 physicians. Nationally, the Association of American Medical Colleges says if there isn't a shortage now, there will be by 2020.

Health reforms proposed by President Obama and approved by Congress but now stalled, would have extended health insurance to an additional 30 million Americans. Since insured patients tend to use medical services more than the uninsured, some health experts worried that the nation had too few doctors, particularly at the primary-care level.

If all the proposed schools actually open, they would amount to an 18-percent increase in the 131 medical schools across the country, the Times reported. Some universities working to launch new medical schools include Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.; the University of California-Riverside; Central Michigan University; and Rowan University in Camden, N.J.

A remaining challenge will be to get new doctors working as primary-care doctors in rural areas where the shortage is occurring, not as specialists in suburban areas, which are already well-stocked. Indiana University medical school has been increasing its enrollment at its eight satellite campuses, hoping that students who train near their rural homes would be more likely to practice there.

Marian University touted that doctors trained in osteopathic medicine—which adds extra focus on the musculoskeletal system to the training of traditional medical doctors—are more likely to practice in primary care and in rural areas.

“We think we have a chance to really add something in terms of physicians to the medical community,” said Dan Elsener, president of Marian University, a Catholic school of 2,287 students on Indianapolis’ northwest side.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.