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Medical schools call 18 percent increase in applications 'Fauci effect'

Medical schools call 18 percent increase in applications 'Fauci effect'
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Medical school applications have increased 18 percent this year in what some schools have called the “Fauci effect.”

Geoffrey Young, the Association of American Medical Colleges' senior director for student affairs and programs, told NPR the increase is akin to the wave of recruitment the U.S. military saw in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"There was a huge increase in the number of men and women that were entering into the military" after the attacks, Young said. 

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"So far in my lifetime, at least, and for as long as I've been in medical education, that's the only comparison that I could make," he added.

Applications are up 27 percent, for example, at Boston University’s school of medicine. Associate Dean of Admissions Kristen Goodell told the network that the increase “may have a lot to do with the fact that people look at Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: Washington prepares for an inauguration and impeachment; coronavirus surges across the US Overnight Health Care: Biden unveils COVID-19 relief plan | Post-holiday surge hits new deadly records | Senate report faults 'broken' system for insulin price hikes Should there be a 'Secretary of Thought'? MORE, look at the doctors in their community and say, 'You know, that is amazing. This is a way for me to make a difference.’ ”

Fauci, who is often named in polling among the most trusted public officials  on the coronavirus pandemic, said while it is “very flattering” to be the namesake for the increase, local doctors deserve more credit.

"Probably a more realistic assessment is that, rather than the Fauci effect, it's the effect of a physician who is trying to and hopefully succeeding in having an important impact on an individual's health, as well as on global health,” he said, according to NPR. “So if it works to get more young individuals into medical school, go ahead and use my name. Be my guest."

In addition to the prominence of figures like Fauci, the increase may also be a result of applicants having more free time for the application process, the network noted.

"A lot of the plans they made postgrad honestly fell through” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, said radiologist Sahil Mehta, who founded MedSchoolCoach, a program that helps students prepare for the Medical College Admission Test.