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MSEP Is Fueling Future Endocrinologists

April 01, 2024

Medical School Engagement Program (MSEP) Opens Pathways to Endocrinology

By Sacha Uelmen, Director, Professional & Clinical Affairs

There is an alarming shortage of U.S. medical students choosing to enter the field of endocrinology, a situation exacerbated by the declining number of practicing endocrinologists in the United States to treat a rapidly growing number of people with endocrine-related diseases. This creates barriers and challenges for the entire healthcare community, including patients, endocrinologists, and primary care clinicians. The Endocrine Society is committed to meeting this challenge with data and science-driven approaches aimed at increasing the number of medical students and residents choosing endocrinology as a career.

The reason for the decline in U.S. medical students choosing endocrinology as a specialty isn't entirely clear. Just 15 years ago, it was one of internal medicine's most popular fellowships and today, it's one of the least. To see more data and details about the trajectory, see and share our infographic at

While the cause is often dismissed as lower salary than other specialties, our research indicates that lacking engagement with positive role models within the field and minimal exposure to more complex and clinically diverse topics also contribute. According to a 2022 study published in JCEM, most medical students have limited exposure to endocrinology as a career choice with little if any access to endocrinology interest groups to support their ongoing learning and knowledge in the field. With the increased prevalence and rates of endocrine diseases, all aspiring physicians should have exposure to this important and exciting field.

We are hearing from Endocrine Society members that an increase in referrals for diagnoses typically managed by primary care is further exacerbating access issues for patients with more complex cases when an endocrinology consult is critical and necessary. According to the AMA, it is estimated that over 83 million people in the U.S. live without reasonable access to a primary care physician. Half of all practicing physicians in the U.S. today are over age 55, and it is estimated that 42% of endocrinologists practicing are over age 50.

Furthermore, endocrinologists are unevenly distributed across the country, leaving many geographic areas without a practicing endocrinologist at all. As of 2021, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) estimated there were around 8,246 active endocrinologists nationally. We don't need to remind anyone in this audience of the statistics around diabetes and other endocrine diseases in the U.S., but you can access more details at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Endocrine Society aims to address this challenge with a pathways-based approach addressing students, fellows, and early career endocrinologists. We support aspiring physicians and endocrinologists with programs for every phase of the journey. To learn more see our in-training and early career resources.

Central to these efforts, we are introducing our new Medical School Engagement Program (MSEP), a way for leaders in the field to spark medical student interest in endocrinology and recognize their best and brightest learners with opportunities to engage with other leaders in the field. Our goal is to provide awardees of this program with the resources and opportunities to show their students the clinical and intellectual vibrancy of endocrinology and put some of them on the path to becoming colleagues.

In the program's first year (2024), the Endocrine Society will provide five medical schools with support for endocrinology-focused initiatives based on needs identified in publications and surveys:

  • Establishing Endocrinology Interest Groups for medical students: Providing funding to support faculty-led sessions highlighting the best of endocrine practice and research.
  • Supporting two Excellence in Endocrinology awards at each institution, for a pre-clinical and a more senior medical student.
  • Funding attendance at ENDO for each award winner, where they will participate in Endocrine Mentor Day and meet with Society leaders.

Timely, ongoing, and engaging mentorship with medical students - starting early, and continuing through their educational careers - can play a significant role in increasing the number of students choosing any specialty. Our goal is to increase the number of medical students choosing endocrinology.

For more information or to apply, please visit

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