‘Fauci Effect’ encourages more medical and nursing school applicants

Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 7:17 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s known as the “Fauci Effect,” the influx of applications to medical and nursing schools as a result of the pandemic and some schools in Alabama are seeing an increase in interest.

Leaders at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM), said this this year is most applications they’ve ever seen come flooding in and the application window is still open.

“Here at our institution we’re up at 23%,” said Associate Dean of Student Services at ACOM, Philip Reynolds.

He said the school has just surpassed 5,000 applications for just 200 spots.

“Health care is on everyone’s mind. They see their physicians, and nurses, and health care workers…how hard they’re working, the influence they’re having on the communities around them. I think that interest drives motivation for certain career goals,” Reynolds said.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the increase in medical school applications is unprecedented, up 18% over last year.

Many are attributing the influx to high-profile public health figures like National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“Everybody’s spending a lot of time on the Internet in other words, and they’re starting to see career opportunities that they may have never thought of before,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said the school leaders are determined to review every application, but they’ve had to improvise during the pandemic.

“Normally we invite…you know 700 or 800 applicants to our building in Dothan, Alabama for interviews, but we’re having to do all of that virtual this time. So, it’s quite a challenge on the admissions side, but it’s a good problem to have having so many good applicants,” Reynolds explained.

Reynolds added that this is a good time to become a healthcare professional.

He said many hospitals are offering big incentives to fill positions, especially for those in nursing.

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