Is loan forgiveness enough to convince students to choose primary care?

I’ve often said that forgiving medical school loans, often exceeding $140,000, can help more students choose primary care.

Students at Harvard Medical School were the lucky recipients of an offer by an anonymous donor, offering $60,000 to students who entered, and completed, a primary care residency.

Salary is one consideration that students have when choosing a specialty. The other is lifestyle. As they train, they observe primary care role models harried by onerous pre-authorization and paperwork requirements, as well as increasing pressure to deal with many issues in a decreasing amount of time. Generally, primary care doctors in academia are unhappy, and that morale influences a student’s decision.

Will the money help sway some students? Well, let’s say that $60,000 can be made up in about 3 months if a student chooses, say, dermatology over family practice.

So, I can’t say that money will sway many. But it definitely can’t hurt.

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