More Dermatology Practices Needed in Midwest, Rural Communities
A recent analysis of the American Academy of Dermatology’s membership database has shown that there has been a significant migration of Dermatology practices to the the southern half of the USA, and also to the cities on both coasts.
To be sure, this follows some of the trends in the rest of the population, especially as some baby boomers retire and move to warmer climates. But unfortunately this migration means that some areas of the country are left with too few dermatologists to adequately tend to the needs of a community. The regions that are the hardest hit by this shortage are in the Midwest and Mountain areas, especially the rural communities.
“There is a shortage of dermatologists in most areas,” said the study’s author, Dr. Jack Resneck, from the University of California, San Francisco.
Across much of the country, Resneck reports, “wait-times for dermatology appointments are too long, and more practices are looking for dermatologists than the number being trained.”
The migrating baby boomer population is only part of the problem. The increased sun exposure in warmer climates may be driving the need for more dermatologist to treat skin cancer or perform cosmetic surgery. Further analysis showed that only 26% of dermatology residents stay in the Midwest to practice, while almost 60% of people who trained in the West or South stayed nearby to practice.
“The Midwest was a net exporter of residents to the West and South,” the researchers write.
The researchers suggest that university residency programs in the Midwest and Mountain areas could address some of these gaps by accepting interns from under-served areas and recruiting students that express a desire to open practices in those less popular regions.
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