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Several Areas in US Lack a Pediatric Dermatologist

A recent cross-sectional study found a maldistribution of pediatric dermatologists, with children lacking access to these specialists in nine states and 96 heavily populated counties.

While “82% of pediatricians report that their patients have difficulty accessing pediatric dermatologists, the regions with greatest need for the specialty are not well‐defined,” the researchers said. Using data from the Society for Pediatric Dermatology, American Board of Pediatrics, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and US Census Bureau, they calculated the number of children, pediatric dermatologists, and pediatric generalists in each county and state, as well as the distribution of pediatric dermatologists and general pediatric providers relative to the population of children.

A total of 317 pediatric dermatologists were identified. Of this total, 311 (98.1%) worked in a metropolitan county and 243 (76.7%) were women. In addition, at least one pediatric dermatologist practiced in 41 of 50 states (82%) but were only in 142 of 3228 counties (4.4%).

Further, the researchers did not find a single pediatric dermatologist in 54 of 92 counties (58.7%) with 100,000 to 199,999 children; in 15 of 53 counties (28.3%) with 200,000 to 499,999 children; and 4 of 13 counties (30.8%) with 500,000 or more children. They also found the state distribution of pediatric dermatologists relative to the population of children in Gini coefficient analysis was 0.488 compared to 0.132 for that pediatric generalists.

“These results can inform initiatives to recruit pediatric dermatologists and to expand telehealth access to specific high‐density areas,” the researchers concluded.

Reference

Ashrafzadeh S, Peters GA, Brandling-Bennett HA, Huang JT. The geographic distribution of the US pediatric dermatologist workforce: a national cross-sectional study. Pediatr Dermatol. Published online September 19, 2020. doi:10.1111/pde.14369

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