IDAHO — Now more than ever, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing the importance of medicine and healthcare workers, but medical schools across the country are reporting that there is more interest in people wanting to get medical degrees.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, across the U.S., applications to Osteopathic medical schools are up 18 percent over the last year.
The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine is experiencing something similar.
“We have really had a great increase in interest to ICOM, and we had a 23 percent increase in our applicants from this year over last year," said Dr. Thomas Mohr, ICOM's Dean & Chief Academic Officer.
For the class of 2025 that starts this fall, ICOM had 3,180 applications for the 162 spots they offer.
This has increased the competition for students trying to get into medical school, something they are calling "The Fauci Effect."
"Because so many people have developed a great respect for Dr. Fauci and his role with the Center for Disease Control," said Mohr. "All of us physicians have known Dr. Fauci for many years; he literally wrote the book, Harrisons Intro to Medicine, which we use as our seminal textbook."
"It doesn’t really surprise me that they want to coin it The Fauci Effect and that a lot of individuals now want to go into the medical field because of the knowledge that he is sharing with the American public," said Chris Thompson, ICOM first-year medical student.
He said that it's inspiring more people to want to help the American people like Dr. Fauci is.
Dr. Mohr also says they are seeing an increase in people wanting to get their master's in public health.
“I think the focus on healthcare and our healthcare heroes that are out there doing that every day has really inspired people to say, 'yeah it’s time I want to go to medical school,” said Mohr.
As a first-year medical student, Thompson said that COVID-19 has taught him a lot about medicine and how he wants to help his patients in the future.
"The pandemic has opened my eyes to seeing medicine through a broader scope," said Thompson.