Practitioners of "medicine and surgery" in the United States—especially holders of the MD degree—are the most self-critical of all professionals. The clearest evidence for this statement is found in the number of hurdles that practitioners must cross to obtain or maintain the right to practice.
Many of the hurdles have been created, or their creation encouraged, by the American Medical Association. On that account, the Association has been called by ill-informed critics selfish and protective of the interests of established practitioners. In fact, the opposite is true. All of the barriers to the practice of medicine are for the purpose of assuring the highest possible quality of health care and are strictly in the interest of the public.
Assurance is first obtained by evaluation of the quality of undergraduate medical education. Herein, attention is directed, not to the performance of individual students, but to the character and quality of the