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Shrinking Workforce, Increasing Demand Pose Imminent Challenges in Rheumatology

In the print cover story of Healio Rheumatology, HSS rheumatologist Anne R. Bass, MD, addressed the ACR's Rheumatology Research Foundation's initiatives to recruit more employees in the field.  

According to an analysis published in Arthritis Care & Research, the demand for rheumatology services will surpass the projected growth of the rheumatology workforce by 2030.

Dr. Bass said the Foundation has "developed a new fellowship training award for programs that have accredited fellowship training slots that they are unable to fill due to lack of funding, particularly those that are in rheumatology-underserved areas. The Foundation also provides small grants to encourage medical students and residents to attend the ACR/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals annual meeting, which is always a good way to get trainees interested in the field".

"We are also working hard to expand the non-physician rheumatology workforce by recruiting nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants to the field. The Foundation has a grant specifically to train mid-level providers in rheumatology," she added.

Additionally, Dr. Bass noted that "we want to continue to encourage trainees to enter rheumatology. Unfortunately, that is not the entire answer, because there aren't enough rheumatology training slots to make up the deficit that we anticipate. We will need to expand the supply of mid-level rheumatology providers and continue to lobby Congress to fund more fellowship slots."

Read the full article at healio.com [registration required]. This also appeared as the cover story in the April 2018 print issue.