WSU sees more medical school applicants with newfound ‘Fauci effect’

SPOKANE, Wash. — Because of this pandemic, more people are stepping up to help others.

Universities across the nation and here in Spokane are seeing a spike in people applying to medical school. It’s called the ‘Fauci effect.’ The infectious disease expert has apparently inspired more people to step up and make a difference. Washington State University’s Medical School is seeing that first hand.

“For me, it’s made me, it’s really solidified why I went into medical school in the first place,” said second year WSU med student Joel Bervell.

And Bervell isn’t the only one feeling that extra inspiration to help people.

The Association of American Medical Colleges says the number of people applying to medical school jumped 18 percent during the pandemic.

Washington State University saw an even higher jump with a 21 percent increase in applications.

“As we read applications, we saw essays talking about the impact on their lives or on their family from the pandemic. It was both sobering and inspiring that despite what might be a scary situation, they’re jumping in and pursuing this path,” said Dr. Leila Harrison, the senior associate dean of admissions with Washington State University.

It’s not just personal experiences that are pushing them towards medicine. It’s seeing others in action, like Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“They see the health care workforce, how hard they’re working and what they’re facing and have been through this. We hear from our students, too. They want to get out there and help, they want to be part of it,” said Dr. Harrison.

Going through medical school during the pandemic made Bervell think about how else he can help people besides just their physical health.

“I think that’s one thing that’s really encouraging for me. Doctors don’t need to take a back seat to things, but they can jump out in the front and make sure they’re guiding and using science to really understand how do we best help people,” said Bervell.

Not only is WSU seeing more people apply for medical school, it’s also seeing fewer students taking time off between their college senior year and medical school.