Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
JRSM Open. 2017 Jun 5;8(6):2054270417698631. doi: 10.1177/2054270417698631. eCollection 2017 Jun.

World medical schools: The sum also rises.

Author information

Department of Medicine, LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.



There is a worldwide shortage of doctors, which is true in most countries and on most continents. To enumerate the number of medical schools in the world at two different times, showing the trends and relating this to population is a beginning. The number is actually going up and has done so for some time; this has increased the supply of physicians and broadened healthcare delivery.


The number to count for geographic and regional information about the medical schools relates directly to the supply of doctors. Regions were chosen from WHO and Foundation for the Advancement of International Medical Education and Research data to illustrate geographic distributions, physicians per patient and kinetics.


The number of medical schools has consistently been rising around the world. However, world order is reverting to disorder, considering wars, disease and beleaguered stand-offs.




Eight countries contain 40% of medical schools; however, several locations are rising faster than the rest. Some regions are stable, but sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia and South America have increased the most in percentage recently, but not uniformly.


Medical schools are related not only by geography, political boundaries and population but are concentrated in some regions. Graduate Medical Education positions appear to be short on a worldwide basis, as well as in some regions and countries.


The number of medical schools is increasing worldwide and the identification of rapidly rising geographic areas is useful in exploring, planning and comparing regions. Controversy continues in a variety of locations, especially concerning Graduate Medical Education. In addition to funding, faculty candidates and accreditation, new schools are confronting a variety of choices in standards and quality, sizing and regional concerns.


Graduate Medical Education; Medical schools; growth

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center