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Is medical education and medical training for US doctors too long? Show more Show less
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Medical professions are typically regarded with great awe and fascination. In most countries, becoming a doctor is the highest form of academic achievement and it is a source of great pride for individuals and their families. In America, it takes anywhere from 11-16 years to become a doctor. Some would argue that such a level of training and education is necessary. They are also fairly compensated for their efforts. Others would disagree by showing how places like India and Europe have significantly fewer training requirements but still produce capable and adept doctors. Why do people have such contrasting views on the topic and why is doctorhood in America so fiercely debated?

Yes, medical education and medical training requirements are too excessive. Show more Show less

In most European and Asian countries, medical students tend to skip undergrad and enter 5-year medical schools. Similar measures need to be taken in America so that more people will enter the healthcare industry and not feel burdened by the time and cost of training.
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It discourages underrepresented groups from entering the medical industry

The expenses associated with such a long period of schooling and training can easily discourage minority groups from entering the medical field. It is important for any field including medicine to be diverse and representative of the population. We must fix any systematic issue that is preventing the field from becoming more diverse.

The Argument

The medical industry desperately needs more doctors. It also needs a more representative and diverse medical force. But an increasing number of pre-medical students are concerned about the long education and financial burden associated with becoming a doctor. The students who are most impacted are ones from low socio-economic backgrounds and minority groups. In the year 2017, research showed that Hispanic medical school students remained underrepresented by nearly 70 percent. African American male enrollments were underrepresented by nearly 60 percent and African American female matriculants by nearly 40 percent.[1] In addition, most of the people who go into medicine come from wealthy backgrounds. The average medical student is in debt of about $183,000.[2] Such expenses can easily dissuade students coming from non-wealthy backgrounds. If the length of education and training was reduced, then more people from minority groups could afford to become doctors. An increasing number of people will start seeing medicine as a viable career rather than an unattainable goal.

Counter arguments

It is wrong to assume that the length of education and training is discouraging minority groups from entering the medical field. If one were to observe any industry, workplace, or career in America, it is evident that there are underrepresented minority groups. This is regardless of the length of training or the amount of education required for the role. These groups could vary from one place to another but unfortunately, this happens in just about every field. The problem of such underrepresentation is deeply rooted. It is caused by systematic injustice. Simply by changing factors such as the length of training, these problems cannot be fixed.

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References

  1. https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2019/september/minority-students-still-underrepresented-in-medical-schools/source.html
  2. https://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Fulltext/2017/08000/The_Socioeconomic_Diversity_Gap_in_Medical.14.aspx/source.html
This page was last edited on Monday, 17 Aug 2020 at 17:48 UTC

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