Viewpoint: The pediatrician pipeline is shrinking

By Mackenzie Bean (Twitter)
July 3rd, 2024
Fewer medical school students are entering pediatric residencies after graduation, marking a troubling trend that could exacerbate the current shortage of pediatricians, Aaron Carroll, MD, wrote in a July 1 op-ed for The New York Times.
Dr. Carroll, a pediatrician and president of the nonprofit professional organization AcademyHealth, cited recent figures showing a record number of applicants registered in the 2024 Main Residency Match. However, the number of medical school graduates applying to pediatric programs fell by more than 6%, according to data from the National Resident Matching Program.
The fill rate for pediatric residency positions was 92% this year, down from 97.1% in 2023. In total, 252 pediatrics residency positions went unfilled this year, up from just 88 the year prior, the data shows.
“This isn’t a minor hiccup; it’s a warning for the future of pediatric care in the United States,” Dr. Carroll said.
He cited several potential solutions to bolster the pipeline of pediatricians, including raising their salaries through Medicaid-Medicare parity, expanding loan repayment programs and shortening training requirements.
“We need immediate action to address this crisis and find ways to attract more graduates to pediatrics,” he wrote. “Our children are the future, but we sure don’t act like it when it comes to…