Early pediatric rheumatology residency exposure may be the key to solving workforce shortages

Nationally, Pediatric Rheumatology is an understaffed subspecialty with one of the lowest pay scales compared to physicians specializing in other types of medicine. Many attribute this difference to the primary location of Rheumatology work being through universities and academic institutions. Additionally, much of the work rheumatologists do is heavily cognitive and research-based instead of procedure-based, making it difficult to quantify their work. 

This discrepancy in pay between different specialties makes it difficult for pediatric rheumatologists to pay off student loans and provide for their families while doing a job they love. To help with this lower workforce, many hospitals are offering student loan repayment programs, but many physicians say this isn’t enough to recruit new medical students and physicians into the Rheumatology subspecialty. Colleen Correll, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology, says that earlier exposure and recruitment in medical students and residents could help pique their interest in the field. The students and young physicians would then get to see the complexity of rheumatology and how much work the subspecialty’s physicians put into interacting with their patients. To read Dr. Correll’s full statement on the need for more rheumatologists and how early interaction with students could accomplish this goal, please follow this link.