Why Teaching Hospitals Are Important to All Americans

America has the world’s best doctors and nurses because we have the world’s best teaching hospitals. These institutions train hundreds of thousands of new doctors, dentists, and nurses every year. Teaching hospitals also discover the cures and provide the critical services that save American lives every day. These hospitals provide care to all Americans, insured or uninsured.

Teaching Hospitals Train Tomorrow’s Doctors

The work of teaching hospitals is more important than ever, as our nation faces a growing shortage of physicians:

  • By 2032, the U.S. will face a shortage of between 46,900 and 121,900 physicians in all specialties.

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population will grow by 31 million people by 2032.

  • The Census Bureau also predicts that, by 2032, the number of Americans over age 65 will increase by 48%.

Teaching Hospitals Provide Cutting Edge Care

AAMC teaching hospital members provide around-the-clock, onsite, and fully staffed standby services for critically ill or injured patients. A significant number of patients are transferred to these hospitals because their illnesses or injuries require a sophisticated level of technology and expertise not available elsewhere in the community. Even though they represent only 5% of all hospitals, AAMC-member teaching hospitals provide2:

  • 69% of all burn care units center beds;

  • 63% of pediatric ICU beds;

  • 68% of all ACS-designated level I trauma centers;

  • 37% of the nation’s neonatal ICUs; and

  • 98% of the nation's Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

Teaching Hospitals Provide a Health Care Safety Net

The majority of AAMC-member teaching hospitals are located in urban regions, many of which are in inner-city areas with high poverty rates.

Teaching hospitals:

  • Provide 32% of all hospital charity care.

  • Are the sites for approximately 25% of all Medicaid hospitalizations.

Teaching Hospitals Serve Their Communities

AAMC-member teaching hospitals are more likely than nonteaching hospitals to reach out to the communities they serve by offering various community programs. For example, 92% of AAMC-member teaching hospitals offer AIDS services, compared to 16% of nonteaching hospitals. Teaching hospitals also support poison control centers, nutrition programs, substance abuse outpatient services, and crisis prevention programs.


1 U.S. Census Bureau. 2017 national population projections datasets. www.census.gov/data/datasets/2017/demo/popproj/2017-popproj.html. Updated 2018.
AAMC Analysis of 2017 AHA Data, the 2018 American College of Surgeons Level 1 Trauma Center designations, and the 2018 National Cancer Institutions' Office of Cancer Centers.