Shortage of Geriatricians Means More Work Needs To Be Done To Train And Educate

Published: Monday, May 28, 2018 - 12:12pm
Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 8:39am

There’s a shortage of geriatric health professionals nationwide.

Recently, Senators Susan Collins and Bob Casey introduced the Geriatrics Workforce Improvement Act, which would reauthorize the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program.

In a joint press release, Senator Collins said there are fewer than 7,300 geriatricians in the country and some 20,000 are needed to care for the millions of older adults.

As of 2016, there are only 117 certified geriatricians in Arizona, according to the American Geriatrics Society. Rachel Peterson is with the University of Arizona’s Center on Aging.

"They’re not paid quite as highly as other specialties," she said. "I also think part of the issue [is that] a lot of medical students get very little geriatric training coming through school and very few opportunities to really see what geriatrics looks like in medical practice."

Peterson says most physicians today have older adult patients and the goal of the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement is to train healthcare professionals across the board.

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