The dean of the medical school at the University of Southern California said she is concerned that students at USC are being treated as criminals for not attending medical school.
Fidelis Health Care dean Laura Smith told The Huffington Page that she is “deeply concerned” by the growing problem of USC students not attending school and are often forced to use medical services for free.
“I think the current situation, which is in large part due to the lack of medical care and medical professionals being overburdened, I think it is really unfortunate,” Smith said.
“I think that we’re in an era where we have the perception that if you’re poor, you can’t go to medical school.”
Smith said she believes that students should have a greater say in their future health care choices.
“We want to be sure that every student has the opportunity to take a medical degree, to take an internship, to work, go to school and get a job,” Smith told HuffPost.
“We want all of our students to be able to make those choices.”
Smith also said she’s not aware of any incidents of students not showing up for classes, but she also emphasized that students must make a decision about whether they want to attend medical school or not.
“What I don’t think people realize is that it’s not all about whether you want to go to a medical school, it’s about whether or not you want the experience to be free,” Smith explained.
“You want to have some sort of accountability for the decisions you make, whether or and how much time you want in the hospital, the cost of that experience.
That’s what we’re trying to do with this.”
Smith was responding to comments by USC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Hays who told The Washington Post last month that he believes the medical community is doing a poor job educating students about medical care.
Hays said that while the number of students graduating from medical school has increased in recent years, the number still isn’t high enough for the school to be competitive in the medical field.
“Our students are not able to go into the medical profession at a higher rate than other schools in this country,” Hays told The Post.
“That is really concerning to me.”
In 2015, USC implemented a two-year waiting period for students who are not already licensed to practice medicine in California, which was designed to help them secure residency status for medical school residency and residency training.
But Hays said the policy has only exacerbated the problem of students who want to become doctors.
“That is a very, very bad situation that I think needs to be addressed,” Hysaid.
“The fact that this is the reality, and not just in California or the rest of the country, is really disappointing.”