In the last five years, there has been a decrease in the percentage of M.D. medical students pursuing a career in pediatrics, according to a special article published online March 10 in Pediatrics.
Noting that there are concerns regarding the ability of pediatricians to meet the growing demands of the pediatric population, Robert J. Vinci, M.D., from the Boston University School of Medicine, examined the state of the pediatric workforce.
Vinci notes there has been a decline in the percentage of M.D. medical students pursuing a career in pediatrics during the past five years and an increase in the number of pediatric positions filled by D.O. medical students and international medical graduates. The last four years have seen a significant increase in the number of unfilled pediatric positions, although there has been an increase in the number of pediatric positions offered in the Match. Some pediatric subspecialties have had difficulty filling their training positions, with 20 to 40 percent fewer applicants than positions seen for those with low match rates.
“The important contributions of pediatricians in clinical care, scientific discovery, education and public health must be celebrated so that trainees understand the impact and advantages of pediatric careers,” Vinci writes. “It is time to focus our efforts and address the myriad challenges of the pediatric workforce. Establishing this as one of our highest priorities will require a major collaborative effort between our academic and professional organizations but the future benefit to the nation’s children will be substantial.”