University of South Carolina

The Medical Workforce in South Carolina: Supply and Demand


  • The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of approximately 150,000 physicians in the United States by 2025. Other reports project a shortfall approaching 200,000 doctors by 2020. The AAMC has recommended that enrollment in Liaison Committee on Medical Education-accredited medical schools be increased by 30 percent from the 2002 level over the next decade.

  • South Carolina has not increased its training of physicians and is falling behind other Southeastern states and the nation. The per-capita rate of first-year medical students in South Carolina has declined steadily over nearly two decades: 5.96 per 100,000 in 1994; 5.82 per 100,000 in 2002; and 5.47 per 100,000 in 2008. The small growth in the number of medical students is not keeping pace with the growth in the state’s population.

  • In 2008, South Carolina had 245 medical students, or 5.47 per 100,000 residents. In the U.S., there were 18,036 medical students, or 5.86 per 100,000.

  • South Carolina’s morbidity and mortality rates for preventable diseases are among the highest in the United States, yet the per-capita rates of primary-care physicians in the state have dropped, and the geographic areas where they are locating has shifted.

  • As the USC School of Medicine programs in Greenville are expanded, most of the graduates are expected to choose to enter primary care. Two-thirds of the graduates from the USC School of Medicine’s graduating classes from 2008–10 entered primary-care residencies. The proportion is even higher among those who completed their third and fourth years in Greenville. (A small number of students from the USC School of Medicine began doing selected clinical rotations at the Greenville Hospital System in 1983. Now, approximately one-quarter of the entering class of 85 students complete all of their third- and fourth-year training at GHS.)

  • A high proportion of medical school graduates establish their medical careers in the state where they attended school. Of the active physicians who graduated from the state’s two medical schools, about half are actively practicing medicine in South Carolina—the 10th highest rate of retention in the country.
  • From The Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 08/06/10 @ 11:00 AM | Updated: 08/06/10 @ 11:05 AM | Permalink



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