Nearly two dozen new medical schools are scheduled or plan to open soon across the U.S., the highest number in roughly 40 years, according to the New York Times. The openings come in response to heightened student demand and a "rare convergence" of market forces.

If all the proposed schools open, it would represent an 18 percent increase to the nation’s 131 current medical schools. So far, six developing medical schools have received preliminary accreditation, six have started applying for licensing and 11 have announced their intention to apply. The surge in schools might be a response to a combination of market forces, including:

  • A larger U.S. population
  • An aging baby boomer population
  • An impending physician retirement wave that may reduce the physician work force by one-third
  • Expected changes to national health policy that may bring an influx of newly insured patients into the U.S. health system