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The Fauci Effect

Evan Winter

The United States has been experiencing a physician shortage for some time now, and it is still growing. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts the shortage will increase to between 54,100 and 139,000 physicians by the year 2033. However, a renewed interest in science and medicine may begin to change that prediction. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. has seen a large influx of medical school applications, with the number of applicants increasing by 18% during the most recent cycle. Young adults have cited the pandemic response and prominent physicians such as Dr. Anthony Fauci as inspiration, thus the sudden interest in medical education has been dubbed “the Fauci effect.”

Throughout December, many medical schools reported impressive application numbers. Boston University saw a 27% rise over the previous year, UC Davis applications rose 38%, and Stanford University reported a whopping 50% increase. The 9,701 applications received by UC Davis was even a record-high for the university. The sudden wave of applications was partially driven by concern for how pandemic response has been handled. Those in younger generations are realizing that such a global emergency really can develop at any time, and unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic may not be the last. They are further driven by the national dissent regarding how infectious diseases function and feel the need to gather scientific knowledge for themselves. To most, it is more than apparent that the people who do have that knowledge are completely overwhelmed. If the struggles of healthcare workers are not seen and heard via major media outlets, they are realized when attempting to make a doctor’s appointment or visit a loved one in the hospital. Seeing this, young individuals who may not yet have a set career path are feeling a call to help.

Other than healthcare workers, the pandemic perhaps immediately disrupts the lives of 20-somethings most, in terms of life planning. Those who are currently in, or recently graduated from, undergraduate education are in a strange position. The job market is suffering, with unemployment sitting at 6.7% as of January 8, and the opportunity to travel, make new connections, and develop a career is at an unprecedented low. At a time in their lives when big changes and new growth should be taking place, plenty of young adults are sitting at a standstill. This need for new direction is apparent, and after seeing physicians like Dr. Fauci provide a clearer route to normalcy, some young people have been inspired to carve a path that not only drastically affects their future but may improve the future healthcare for others.

The physician shortage is evident, especially as the pandemic drags on and more ill doctors are unable to work. Despite the present situation looking grim, there is a significant chance to learn from it, and some individuals are already taking large steps toward realizing that opportunity. Hopefully the sudden interest in medical education will produce more physicians for the future and lessen the blow, should the nation face another public health emergency.

Even with a high unemployment rate and strained healthcare system, physicians are still finding jobs in a variety of areas. With the right consultation and leverage, you can find a job for your specialty in the location you desire most. Resolve will help you through the entire process, from CV review and applications, to interviews and contract negotiation. Visit the job search and contract review pages to learn more, and give us a call!