Robert H. Ebert, dean of Harvard Medical School, yesterday endorsed a resolution to support legislation requiring all students in those medical schools receiving federal aid to serve two years in medically-understaffed areas in the U.S.
Ebert clarified his position at a meeting of Harvard Medical School students on medical manpower legislation now before Congress.
About 40 per cent of the total Medical School enrollment attended the meeting, and most supported Ebert's position in a show of hands.
The resolution was drawn up in response to a bill sponsored by Sen. J. Glenn Beall (R-Md.) which requires government-aided medical schools to obtain a pledge from at least 25 per cent of its entering class to serve in medically deprived areas after graduation. The bill passed the Senate on September 24.
The Beall bill mandates a one-to-one relation between number of years on scholarship and years in government service. No aid will go to schools with less than 25 per cent of its student body on scholarship.
An alternate plan, introduced in the House by Rep. Paul Rogers (D-Fla.), has not yet been voted upon.
Under Rogers's bill, medical schools would receive $2100 annually for each registered student. At the completion of four years of training, every student would sign an agreement with the federal government either to pay back the money or to serve a national corporation.
"This is actually an interest-free loan," Ebert said of Rogers's bill. "If this becomes law, the only equitable way for it to function is to require everyone to serve; not just those who borrow money because they are poor."