research, rural residencies

Uneven Distribution of Emergency Physician Residency Programs Can Impact Workforce Challenges, New Analysis Finds

A new analysis of the emergency physician resident workforce in Annals of Emergency Medicine finds that while the number of residency programs is increasing, new residency programs are disproportionately located in urban areas in states with existing programs, rather than rural communities with limited access to emergency care.

“Predictions of an oversupply of emergency physicians in the next decade may not apply to every part of the country,” said Christopher L. Bennett, MD, MA, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and lead study author. “Regional differences over time need to be considered in any discussions of workforce challenges—these findings underscore the likelihood that rural emergency physician shortages will persist.”

The number of emergency medicine residencies expanded from 160 to 265 between 2013 and 2020, according to Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) data analyzed. The study also notes that of 6,993 emergency medicine residents in the 2020 American Medical Association data set, 98% were in urban areas.

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