NEW YORK (Jul. 26)
Although more than 47 per cent of the Jewish physicians in the United States practice in New York State, with the bulk concentrated on the Atlantic seaboard between Baltimore and Boston, there are more than 400 communities in the country with a population of 10,000 or more which have no Jewish physicians, according to a preliminary survey of the Medical Committee on Research released today by the Conference on Jewish Relations.
The survey, which will appear in the July issue of Jewish Social Studies, a quarterly journal published by the Conference, represents some of the findings of a committee which has been engaged for the past three years in a study of Jews in medicine in the United States. Dr. Jacob A. Goldberg is secretary of the committee, whose members include Drs. A.A. Brill, Aaron Brown, Reuben L. Kahn A.J. Rongy, Kaufman Schlivek, I.S. Wechsler and Reuben Ottenberg.
The increase in Jewish physicians in ten major cities (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit, Cincinnati, St. Louis, San Francisco and New Orleans) since 1899, the survey discloses, parallels the increase in the Jewish population of this country since that year. “It is of significance to note,” according to the report, “that Jewish physicians practicing in New York City in 1936 graduated from 97 medical schools in the United States, 8 in Canada and 77 European medical schools. The wide distribution has, in part at least, apparently been caused by the difficulties Jewish students have experienced in gaining admission to medical schools in their own communities or even in the United States as a whole.”
Taking cognizance of movements “to check any growth in the number of Jewish medical students and Jewish physicians,” the survey notes that medical schools in this country have decreased from 162 in 1906 to 78 in 1931. “The result of restrictive admission policies,” it concludes, “has been at least a proportionate decrease in the number of Jewish students accepted. In many medical schools there has been an unofficial, though at the same time an effective, limitation of Jewish students.” A “marked decline” is noted “in the total number of Jewish students admitted to medical schools in the United States during the past six years.” This significant decrease represents a decline of more than 30 per cent, it is claimed, in the admissions of Jewish medical students in the years 1933 and 1938. At the same time the survey recognizes that “the decline in the number of Jewish medical students is principally a reflection of a general drop in medical school enrollment.”
Jewish physicians”of standing and competence,” it is asserted, “have no major problem in affiliation with local hospitals.” Moreover, “despite many statements to the contrary, Jewish physicians interviewed throughout the country generally felt that there is little over anti-Semitism which they encountered in their practice” The practice of Jewish doctors outside the large cities, it is found, is commonly “among the working classes, those of recent foreign extraction and middle class non-Jews.” This fact indicates to the committee that “the relations of Jewish physicians with their neighbors in smaller communities is satisfactory.”
As to the future of the Jew in medicine in the United States, the committee found two different emphases prevailing. One group felt “that movements for the extension of medical service to the poorer classes and smaller communities would be of great assistance to the Jewish physicians seeking to settle in small towns.” The other group favored the limitation of the number of Jewish medical students as “a healthy trend,” feeling that “any larger proportion would create friction and difficulty.”