TUESDAY, May 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Rural areas of the United States have a lack of emergency medicine residents and residency training programs, according to a study published online May 12 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Christopher L. Bennett, M.D., from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues analyzed demographic information and mapped both county-level population-adjusted and hospital referral region densities for emergency medicine residents in the 2020 American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Masterfile and compared 2020 to 2008 resident physician densities. In addition, all Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited emergency medicine residency programs from 2013 to 2020 were analyzed.

The researchers found that in the 2020 AMA dataset, there were 6,993 emergency medicine residents with complete information; 98 percent were in urban areas. This represented disproportionate increases in urban areas per 100,000 U.S. population compared with 2008. Using the ACGME data, 160 (2013) to 265 (2020) residency programs were identified. The new programs were three-year training programs and were disproportionately added to states that already had a higher number of programs, including Florida, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.

“Our findings of a vast region of the country without emergency medicine residents or residency programs — an emergency physician ‘desert’ — add a necessary, currently absent level of context and depth to the ongoing conversation surrounding the emergency physician workforce,” the authors write.

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