Ross University Helping to Alleviate Looming Shortage of Primary Care Physicians


Testifying recently before the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Bruce Steinwald, healthcare director of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), warned of a looming shortage of primary care physicians that is only being alleviated by graduates of international medical schools like Ross University School of Medicine.

According to Steinwald, from 1995-2006, the number of primary care residents in the U.S. rose six percent, an increase that is solely attributable to graduates of foreign medical schools. Without them, there has been a seven-percent drop in the number of U.S. medical school graduates entering primary care.

While the reasons for the drop in students entering primary care are many, the resulting crisis is real and dire, threatening access to family practice and internal medicine care for patients across the country, particularly in rural and low-income communities, which rely heavily on primary care physicians but struggle to find them.

Ross University School of Medicine has long been committed to training students to enter primary care and continues to play a critical role in alleviating the projected shortage of doctors in this area.

In the past year alone, Ross University School of Medicine placed approximately 600 doctors in U.S. residencies – more than any other medical school inside or outside the U.S. Of those, over 60 percent went into primary care residencies. Since opening in 1978, the school has graduated nearly 6,000 doctors. This talent pool of new, highly-trained doctors is now more important than ever, considering that dramatic shortages that have been projected.

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, there will be a shortage of approximately 55,000 physicians in the U.S. by 2020. A large part of this will be in primary care, an area that will require a 39-percent increase in the number of physicians by 2020 to meet growing demand, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. This impending shortage has prompted the Association of American Medical Colleges to call for increases in U.S. medical school enrollment, but projections reveal that growth will be woefully short, with only a 17 percent increase by 2012.

Ross University understands this challenge and is continually committed to training and placing the best educated, most capable physicians into primary care residencies across the country. We are proud of what we and our graduates have achieved in this area so far and look forward to their contributions – and those of our future graduates - in the years to come.