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New medical schools in the United States: forces of change past and present.

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145 Community Drive, Great Neck, NY 11021, USA.


The new millennium has ushered in a growth phase in the number of American medical schools. Historically the United States has built schools during bursts of activity with relative quiescence in between these periods. We had a twenty-two year period with no growth in medical school size or number. During that time there were significant changes in patient characteristics, student culture, financial reimbursement, quality, and manpower needs that have put stress on medical schools, hospitals, clinical practice and healthcare systems. In addition, there have been remarkable new opportunities in the way we teach, including changes in teaching methodology, educational technology, and a better understanding of how students actually learn. All of these advances have taken place during a period of enormous pressure to change residency programs, reorganize medical and clinical science, and question the very need for traditional departmental structures. It is likely that the new medical schools will emerge looking different from the older schools and they are likely to catalyze a period of curricular change.

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