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The deans of Harvard and 11 other private medical schools agreed to fight federal legislation that would tie mandatory service in the National Health Corps to federally supported loans, in a caucus held in Chicago last week.
The deans unanimously supported the principle that all medical school graduates, regardless of whether they needed loans, should be at "equal risk" for compulsory service in underserved areas in the United States.
Dr. Robert H. Ebert, dean of the Medical School, said, "Our purpose was to get together as a group of private schools to see whether we could approach problems of manpower legislation in a constructive rather than simply a critical manner." He added that the bills currently being considered by Congress would "affect particularly disadvantaged students."
The House and Senate have both passed different health manpower bills which would allow financially secure students to avoid service in the National Health Corps. However, it seems unlikely that a House-Senate conference will agree on a final bill before the current Congressional term expires.
Dr. Robert S. Blacklow '55 associate dean for academic programs, complained that "the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has been against the whole concept of a national service corps and has been identified as a lobby for all medical schools. The private medical schools want the legislators to know that the AAMC isn't representative of every medical school in the country."
The AAMC was holding its annual meeting for all medical schools in Chicago the same week that the deans caucused.
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