Newswise — The 2007 entering class to U.S. medical schools is the largest in the nation's history, according to new data released today by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). The number of first-year enrollees totals almost 17,800 students, a 2.3 percent increase over 2006. More than 42,300 individuals applied to enter medical school in 2007, an increase of 8.2 percent over 2006. Nearly 32,000 were first-time applicants, the highest number on AAMC record.

The 2007 medical school applicant pool also included more individuals from racial and ethnic minorities. The number of black male applicants and Hispanic male applicants both increased this year by 9.2 percent (higher than the growth rate of the total applicant pool). The number of black males who ultimately were accepted and enrolled in medical school this fall increased by 5.3 percent, a rate nearly double that of the first-year entrant increase overall. Hispanic male first-year enrollees remained at the same level as 2006.

"With our nation expected to face a serious shortage of physicians in the future, we are pleased to see interest in medicine as a career continuing to increase," said AAMC President Darrell G. Kirch, M.D. "We are especially encouraged by the growing interest among students from groups historically underrepresented in medicine."

As of 2006, 28.8 percent of the U.S. population was black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, or Native American, yet these groups accounted for only 14.6 percent of medical school graduates. Nationwide, only 6 percent of practicing physicians are members of these groups. The AAMC has identified increasing diversity in medicine as one of its key strategic priorities.

Overall, the academic credentials of applicants to medical school this year were stronger than ever before, with the highest MCAT® (Medical College Admission Test) scores and cumulative grade point averages on record. In addition, over the past five years there has been an increase in applicants' average amount of experience in premedical activities, including time spent in medical research and community service in clinical and nonclinical settings.

In addition to increases in the size of the applicant pool, 11 of the 126 U.S. medical schools boosted their entering class size by more than 10 percent this year (data tables available upon request). First-year enrollment at the nation's medical schools has increased more than 7 percent since 2003, when the AAMC first began to investigate the possibility of a physician workforce shortage.

For more information on medical student diversity and efforts to encourage minority undergraduate students to pursue careers in medicine, go to

For the AAMC's position on the physician workforce shortage, go to

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association representing all 126 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 68 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and 94 academic and scientific societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC represents 109,000 faculty members, 67,000 medical students, and 104,000 resident physicians.

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