The coronavirus pandemic has headed the world in a new direction, and many professions have seen an uplift in their horizons. Though the times are tough, yet we have to be tougher. The current scenario in the medical community world over has shown our relentless efforts in fighting the pandemic together. The abrupt increase in the number of medical applicants is proof. More students than ever have applied to medical schools this time, and the primary reason projected is “The Fauci effect.”

But what is the Fauci effect? This term is derived from the name of a scientist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. Not many people knew him before this pandemic. But now, Fauci has become one of the most famous icons of 2020. His contributions to the field of medicine and position as an immunologist, specifically in these challenging times, have led him to global fame. According to Geoffrey Young, Senior Director of Student Affairs and Programs in ‎Association of American Medical Colleges, the “Fauci effect” is a term that wasn’t intentionally coined; instead, it rose to popularity after the dean of admissions at Boston University in an interview about it a few days past. 

A Robust Increase in Medical School Applicants

Medical schools are experiencing a record rise in applications, and it is assumed that the coronavirus outbreak has prompted young people to reconsider medical professions. It might be empathy also that has encouraged this generation to opt for the healthcare profession and be front liners in protecting humanity. According to reports by the Association of American Medical Colleges, there is an 18% rise in applications compared to last year’s reports. Therefore, the increase in applications has been associated with the “Fauci effect,” thereby paying tribute to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s efforts.

According to reports, the surges are as follows;

  • Boston University School of Medicine – 27%
  • Stanford University School of Medicine – 50%
  • University of California – 40%
  • University of Minnesota’s Medical School (Twin Cities campus) – 40%
  • University of Minnesota’s Medical School (Duluth campus) – 77%

It is assumed, the issues that have arisen due to the pandemic have led students to opt for the medical profession since they are keener than ever to roleplay by becoming an even better part of society. Reports suggest, not only is there a rise in applicants for the MBBS program, but nursing programs have a considerably high number of applicants this time. One can say big events in history cause mind-shift in people and prompt them to select a particular career option. One such example could be 9/11; this tragedy’s aftermath stimulated many young individuals to enter the military. And at present, pandemic being the root cause has led physicians like Dr. Fauci to inspire the students. It will not be wrong to say that a national sense of purpose has a key role in shaping future generations’ futures and directing them to a specific career path.

But do more applications mean more doctors? One scenario could be that schools will not be able to accommodate more than a specific count of students. Another possibility could be that schools will be increasing their seats for students of this field by reconsidering applicants’ motivation and zeal. 

Take of Professionals on Application Uprise

Professionals believe that empathy might not be the only cause for a robust increase in the number of applications in Medical colleges. They think some students may have more time to prepare for the MCAT exam since online studies became new normal globally and added to the free time one could find at home to study. According to professionals, an unfriendly economic climate could be another prompt for students to decide medical as a career since everyone is up for a job with a decent income, but the values are different for everyone.

On the other hand, some individuals might have experienced a real blow by the coronavirus. Seeing others in the same sufferings moved them so hard to select medicine as a profession. The fact that the issue is global and shortage of doctors and lack of medical assistance could have fired the already burning flames in motivated individuals and caused them to become like few of those heroes that have been on the frontlines since the eruption of this pandemic. The professionals have multiple opinions regarding the root cause of the rise in these applications. Still, the fact that the pandemic is the primary reason is a commonality everyone might agree on.

Role of Dr. Anthony Fauci

In times when there is elevated interest in science and medicine due to the way coronavirus has altered our lives, Fauci has stood like a leader guiding and clearing every possible misconception and ambiguities regarding the virus. As an infectious disease specialist and a role model for scientists, people give multiple titles to him. He is considered one of the most trusted leaders during the unprecedented times of COVID-19. Dr. Fauci himself thinks the term “Fauci effect” as flattering, and according to him, it is the impact of the physician’s efforts that people have taken inspiration from. Among the inspired, the majority happens to be students who have applied for medical schools because they have now realized that their responsibility is not only to themselves but also to society.

At present, Fauci is reportedly involved working 19 hours a day with the Whitehouse Coronavirus Task Force. No wonder he is assumed to be an icon in 2020. His undivided attention in finding the solution for the concerned issues and his unparalleled expertise have led to many scientific findings. Indeed many physicians and students are seeking inspiration in him.

Does the “Fauci effect” Have a Real Impact?

For nearly a year, Dr. Fauci has been the face of America fighting against the outbreak of a pandemic. No doubt he has motivated many, be it physicians, scientists, individuals in paramedical staff, and even the young generation who can now decide for their future. According to Dr. Fauci, this generation of people has seen and known much suffering caused by the pandemic. Many have seen their dear ones leaving the world. Others have been under the toll of the virus themselves. All these factors and the medical care professionals’ sacrifices have added to why students are so touched and keen to apply to medical schools. And a trusted figure like Fauci has himself been an example of how every individual can make a difference. He believes and encourages people, making them realize that everyone can contribute and make a difference in these times.

“Fauci Effect” Is Not the Sole Reason

Fauci effect is not the only reason why individuals are applying for medical schools in bulk. Though the term has gained popularity and is considered to be the very reason behind the rise in applications, the very reason could be the realization of responsibility in each individual regarding their part in society in times to come. Since the loss of dear ones during a pandemic has brought the world to the realization of selfishness in ourselves, thus we are more dedicated than ever to change ourselves for the better. In addition to empathy, other factors are also in play. In the lockdown, individuals seem to have more time to reconsider and fill up forms for admittance in medical schools. They got ample time for the preparation of the admittance exam. 

The outbreak has taken a toll on the economics of every country and rendered many people jobless. The selection of a high-paying career might also be a reason involved because the downturn of national policies always impacts professions like healthcare, agriculture, and many others.

A strong belief is that pandemic has aroused interest in people to study infectious diseases and try to find solutions for them. Maybe the students are now actually concerned about making their contributions to improving public health. Many vulnerable populations are targeted and reduced due to this disease. And people want to become a doctor not only to be able to save lives but to study, explore the causes and reduce the future outbreaks of pandemics like this.

Competition in Medical Schools Is Getting Tougher

As applicants to medical schools have increased, it does not necessarily mean a more significant number of doctors. You see, there are multiple reasons for it. Every doctor has to go through a graduate medical education or GME. These programs are focused on the training of doctors in the specialty of their choice. Without this training, a doctor is just a name and not a medical professional who is capable or allowed to practice and provide assistance relevant to healthcare. These GME programs are funded by the government and have a specific number, meaning there is a specific number of students who can enroll in the course. 

Therefore, more applicants do not mean more medical professionals. Schools will now become even more selective, and the number of rejected applications will increase further. Only a specific number of students will be allowed in schools and certainly those who score more grades. Thus, the rise in application means an elevated target that every student has to try to accomplish.

Extracurricular Is Also a Criterion for Admittance in Medical Schools

Role in extracurricular activities still plays a valid part in Medical school admission. 2020 has changed our activity patterns. We were and still are in quarantine. Not everyone is free to move around, play, interact and socialize; history and vigorous interest in co-curricular activities still count to be a part of everyone’s personality. It is no mystery how these activities define your personality and pressure bearing capabilities. Having all knowledge and not being able to act at the right time and speed, will you be a good doctor? Will you volunteer to save lives when you are not efficient enough physically? It is an obvious no! Therefore, extracurricular activities are still and will always continue to be a highlight in your personal and professional life at all costs will prove to be a valuable asset. 

The Increased Importance of MCAT

Standardized tests, majorly the MCAT, have always been an integral part of the medical school admittance process. Schools have used it as a criterion to judge student’s abilities and select those who are strong enough to take up the field as a professional, because of what we call “The Fauci effect,” the rise in applicants has led to increased importance of MCAT. This time the test might be even more challenging, not scaring you but guiding that since the test now holds greater importance, it will be even more meaningful. You have to polish your capabilities in every possible manner since you are applying for a big profession – being able to meddle with someone’s health, take it down, or bring it back. Thus, it is expected that students who have applied for session 2021 might have to experience a tougher challenge for acceptance in medical schools. Therefore, it is important to start preparing beforehand and try to make their applications as good as they can be.

The US Is Heading towards a Lack of Doctors

As they say, there are always two sides to a coin; the problem of doctors’ scarcity is global and means that the lesser the number of doctors at present, the more is opportunities for the younger generation to be selected for this profession. Likewise, the US needs to produce more doctors as the issue is very real, and the outbreak of pandemic has led the world to realize the importance of enough healthcare professionals. 

The patient population is increasing, and future counts are not yet very predictable. Therefore, it is need of the hour to produce more doctors because the proportion of patients versus doctors has dropped drastically and is expected to fall further if circumstances do not change in upcoming decades. According to a study made in 2018, by 2025, there might be 103,000 posts for this position, but the shortage might increase by up to 11,000. To overcome our fears of increased doctors’ shortage in the next few years, our efforts must be directed in producing a greater number of efficient healthcare professionals who are not only skilled but also capable of bearing the burdens of future pandemics, if any.

Impacts of Increased Applicants for Medical Schools

If we are hoping to overcome a doctor shortage, increased applicants in medical schools are not the only solution to it. A shift of mindset is also required, and it is really good to know, the trends have also changed in applicants. Students are up for this field irrespective of their region, race, and gender. More students from rural backgrounds have applied. Everyone has experienced the toll of the pandemic in his way and realized the importance of medical professionals in their particular region.

The reports and rise in applicants’ numbers suggest that medical schools might be needing to increase the number of seats for students enrolled in this program to accommodate and produce a greater number of skilled graduates that society could benefit from and look up to in times like these.

“Fauci Effect” and Future of Medicine 

The future of science and medicine seems bright. It is really impressive that the initial vaccine for such an infection has been developed in less than 12 months. Imagine how far medicine has come and what inventions we can go further only if honesty and dedication are driving forces in this cause. This is high time that we are realizing not only can we find cures for infectious diseases but also for health issues considered as terminal illnesses for over decades like multiple issues related to organ failures, HIV/AIDs, and varied forms of cancer.

Students entering the medical profession now have one of the best times to create a career in this field. Not only are they going to play an integral part in society but also for themselves by being in such a generous profession that has a greater meaning to life and souls. For an experience beforehand, you can apply for our Healthcare Internship Program.

Conclusion

The world has faced many challenging times before, and great nations learn from each experience. Every lesson from the past has taught us the importance of healthcare assistance and the medical profession, be it natural disasters or wars. Though we always try to be on guard for the provision of medical assistance, yet the ongoing pandemic has taught us that there is always a greater need for medical assistance than expected. The surge in applications for medical schools says a lot about the lesson we have learned this time. More people, especially the younger generation, have realized their part and are up for role-play. 

The emergence of the pandemic has not reached even 18 months yet, and it is too early to decide whether it is only “The Fauci effect” or other reasons are also involved in students making up their minds to select the medical profession. BuThetbreak has surely fueled the already burning flames of motivation in students and urged them to be even more confident in taking up a field that could lessen any past loss burdens, if any, and be a part of a cause that is greater than many.