Applications to medical school up amid COVID-19 pandemic

As COVID-19 continues to spread in Arizona and elsewhere, applications to medical school are at an all-time high.

From a young age, Jon Kelley had a passion for medicine, as well as music. When the music stopped, his drumbeat took him to med school. Now, Dr. Kelley is a second-year resident during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Kelly said didn’t think of COVID when he thought of getting into medicine.

"But it’s just solidified why I went into medicine, and why I went into emergency medicine specifically," said Dr. Kelley, who works with Valleywise's Emergency Department.

Abby Solorio is currently in med school, inspired even more by the difficult times the world is facing.

"As a future physician, I definitely reminded every single day why I’m doing this and why it’s important to be passionate in this field. That’s what takes you far," said Solorio, who attends the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix.

The wave of new doctors and nurses isn’t stopping at a time when they’re needed most. Applications at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix are way up for a limited number of spots.

"Last year, it was a class of 100 and we had 6,000 applications. This year, it’s a class of 120 and we have 7,000 applications. It’s these a type-driven students that are answering the call," said Dr. Glen Fogerty.

More people are answering the bell during a challenging time, or at least banging the drum for science.

"Younger people, older people are starting to apply for nursing school, and I think it’s awesome. We need more people always," said Dr. Kelley.

“It’s a good job. I’m a lucky man. I get to call people and tell them they’re gonna be a doctor someday. It’s pretty emotional," said Dr. Fogerty.

Some doctors are comparing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to another watershed event, in terms of the number of people who stepped up to serve following the event: 9/11 in 2001.

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