At the August ‘white coat ceremony’ the introduction for its class of 2022, New York University School of Medicine announced it will cover their tuition, regardless of their financial situation. The announcement was not just meant for the new students this semester but for all 450 current students attending the four-year NYU medical school. This is not only great news for NYU medical students. Such initiatives could also change the landscape of health care in the United States for good.
Raise the shortage of doctors: the expensive tuition $125,000 for public and $212,000 for private schools does pre-med students decide to continue with another study. Not only the tuition, but its debt burden is a factor that contributes to the projected shortage of 120,000 physicians in the United States by 2030.
Improve the diversity of doctor: In the most recent application cycle, only 18 percent of the medical students were African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, or native Alaskans, even though they make up nearly 33 percent of the U.S. population. Potential minority medical students cite cost as the top barrier to application.
Increase primary care physicians: Nearly half of the third- and fourth-year students say that their choice in a medical specialty is influenced by projected income—or by debt burden. Therefore only 30% of the students choose primary care specialties like family medicine, pediatrics and internal medicine that all generate less income. Especially since they have to invest starting their own practice, their debt burden is even higher.
With the increase of the aging US population, the prevalence of chronic diseases will rise enormously and will need the attention of primary care physicians.
By freeing both prospective and present medical students from their educational debt, New York University is the first medical school that might change the landscape of American health care by attracting more diverse students in the health population, and indirectly improve the care of minority patients. These benefits for current NYU students is a great gesture of the University, hopefully other American medical schools will follow this bold initiative.
Not all medical schools in the world have enough endowments to be able to permit students without tuition, but having enough American doctors might prevent the brain-drain from those countries in the world where the shortage of health workers is alarming.