A position paper of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. Pediatric gastroenterology Workforce Survey and future supply and demand

R B Colletti, H S Winter, R J Sokol, F J Suchy, W J Klish, P R Durie
Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 1998, 26 (1): 106-15

BACKGROUND: The North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (NASPGN) performed a Workforce Survey to determine the current number and distribution of pediatric gastroenterologists in the United States and Canada and to estimate the supply and demand in the future in the United States.

METHODS: The response rate was more than 90%. There were 624 pediatric gastroenterologists in the United States, and 48 in Canada.

RESULTS: There were 2.4 pediatric gastroenterologists per million population in the United States, ranging from 3.1 per million in the Northeast to 1.9 per million in the West, and 1.6 per million in Canada. In the United States, fewer than 5 pediatric gastroenterologists retire each year, but more than 40 fellows per year complete training. In the United States, 30% of pediatric gastroenterologists believe there is already an excess supply; only 12% believe there is a shortage (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: If the number of fellows who complete training each year remains unchanged, in 10 years there will be more than 950 pediatric gastroenterologists in the United States (3.3 per million population). At the same time, if the demand for pediatric gastroenterologists remains 2.4 per million population, there will be a demand for only 675. If these assumptions are correct, it is necessary to reduce the number of fellows to be trained. Although it is difficult to predict future workforce needs reliably, we recommend that the number of fellowship positions in training programs in the United States be reduced by 50% to 75%. Changes in health care in the coming years will be challenging, and effective planning is necessary for pediatric gastroenterologists to achieve their clinical, research, and educational missions.

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