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Competition fierce for spots in UNR Med classes

By John Seelmeyer
Published: Last Updated on

Applications continue to surge at the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine, but the school’s top admission official plays down the so-called “Fauci effect” that appears to be driving applications at other medical schools.

UNR Med received 1,635 applications this year for the 70 seats available in its incoming class.  That’s nearly identical to the record-setting 1,643 applications the medical school received in 2019.

Nationwide, applications are up 18% overall, reports The Association of American Medical Colleges, and some admissions officers say American students may be inspired by Dr. Anthony Fauci and others battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tamara Martinez-Anderson

But Tamara Martinez-Anderson, the director of admissions at UNR Med, says the sharp rise in applications began long before anyone had even heard of COVID-19.

The record number of applicants last year — an application cycle that pre-dated the pandemic — was up 11% from the previous year.

And even if the pandemic has spurred interest in medical education, Martinez-Anderson notes that most of this year’s applicants began preparing themselves at least three years ago, getting the pre-med classes and experiences they need to compete for a seat at UNR Med.

While the “Fauci effect” may be limited, a big push to increase the diversity of UNR Med classes appears to be paying off.

The 394 applications from Nevada residents this year includes a record number from rural residents, first-generation college students, and Black and Hispanic communities that historically have been under-represented, Martinez-Anderson says.

In fact, the nearly 400 applications from Nevada residents this year represents a 59% increase from just two years ago.

UNR Med has been working with organizations such as Nevada’s Area Health Education Centers, the Community of Bilingual English-Spanish Speakers, TRiO Scholars, the Reno Orthopedic Clinic, UNR Med’s Latino Medical Student Association and Student National Medical Association, as well as the pre-professional advising offices at UNR and UNLV, to attract and prepare applicants to the medical school.

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