According to figures released yesterday by Dr. Reginald Fitz '05, University marshal and assistant to the dean of the faculty of medicine, the Medical School has been one of the departments of the University hardest hit by the present national emergency.
Although 200 instructors, one-third of the Med School faculty, are now taking an active part in the war effort, Dr. Fitz stated that they had not been forced to curtail their teaching facilities. The main problem, he said, was to maintain a steady flow of medical students.
No Shortage Now
Said Dr. Fitz, "I don't believe there will be any shortage of doctors for at least three years, but it would hardly be safe to assume the war would end within that time." Under the present set up, each class entering the Medical School enrolls about 125 students out of between 600 and 700 applicants These students, who are accepted at the end of their Junior year at college, are immediately taken into the Medical Administrative Corps which is a branch of the army reserve.
On completing their course of study at the Medical School, which takes three years under the newly introduced accelerated program, the future doctors must spend another year as an interne. At the conclusion of the four-year premed training period, the doctors are given a commission in the Army and proceed to active service.
It is estimated that the Armed Forces will need approximately 65,000 doctors, while for civilian needs one physician for every 1500 inhabitants is considered fully sufficent. Dr. Fitz pointed out that the problem was not one of shortage but of distribution. Until the proper distribution is obtained there is bound to be some inconvenience, especially among civilians. "It is a matter of educating the people to realize they're going to be rationed on medical care."
Summing up the situation, Dr. Fitz said, "I feel sure that some method will be worked out to insure a continuous supply of medical doctors."