Medical Education, branch of education devoted to training doctors in the practice of medicine. In 18th-century colonial America, prospective physicians either apprenticed themselves to established practitioners or went abroad to study in the traditional schools of London, Paris, and Edinburgh. Medicine was first taught formally by specialists at the University of Pennsylvania, beginning in 1765, and in 1767 at King's College (now Columbia University), the first institution in the colonies to confer the degree of doctor of medicine. Following the American Revolution, the Columbia medical faculty (formerly of King's College) was merged with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, chartered in 1809, which survives as a division of Columbia University.
In 1893 the Johns Hopkins Medical School required all applicants to have a college degree and was the first to afford its students the opportunity to further their training in an affiliated teaching hospital. The growth of medical schools affiliated with established institutions of learning was paralleled by the development of proprietary schools of medicine run for personal profit, most of which had low standards and inadequate facilities. In 1910 Abraham Flexner, the American education reformer, wrote Medical Education in the United States and Canada, exposing the inadequacies of most proprietary schools. Subsequently, the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges laid down standards for course content, qualifications of teachers, laboratory facilities, affiliation with teaching hospitals, and licensing of practitioners that survive to this day.
In the 1994-1995 academic year the United States and Canada had 140 accredited 4-year medical colleges. That same year 43,029 men and 30,821 women were enrolled in these schools and 10,646 men and 7,009 women were graduated. Graduates, after a year of internship, receive licenses to practice if they pass an examination administered either by a state board or by the National Board of Medical Examiners.