If you do not know about the challenges facing the pediatric workforce, the time has come. The decline in the percentage of medical students choosing pediatrics over the past several years combined with increasing numbers of open positions in pediatric residency and fellowship programs are concerning. There is a growing concern that we could face a diminishing number of pediatric health care professionals to meet the clinical, research, educational, and advocacy missions that are critical to sustaining and improving the health and wellbeing of all children. It is because of these concerns that we are releasing a special article this month by Dr. Robert Vinci, Professor and Chair of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center and Boston University, who is spearheading a national collaborative summit on the topic of the pediatric workforce. This article provides a critical and timely update on this important issue (10.1542/peds.2020-013292).
Using annual data provided by the National Resident Matching Program, the American Board of Pediatrics physician tracking system, and data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, Dr. Vinci does a superb job laying out the issues that are contributing to the workforce tensions being felt within our field. He does this in a comprehensive manner, including data about MDs, DOs, international medical school graduates, and advanced practice providers. He also addresses issues in diversity and geographic distribution. Dr. Vinci also challenges us with a call to action to address the workforce challenges.
There has never been a better time to enter pediatrics. Given the challenges Dr. Vinci presents, we must work together to overcome and rebuild our workforce. Please link to this article and become part of the hope that prompted us to choose pediatrics as a career and now must be felt by a robust diverse future workforce that will sustain our gains in child health in the years ahead.