A new report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), released on Friday, predicts an exacerbated doctor shortage in the U.S. over the next 15 years, at a time when Black and Latinx enrollment in medical schools is on the decline, USA Today reported.
Authors of the report expect there to be a shortage of up to 139,000 physicians as the population of retirement-age Americans climbs 45% by 2033, according to USA Today.
This is of particular concern to communities of color. Studies show minority patients benefit from seeing minority doctors. But African Americans made up only 2.6% of doctors in 2019 and 7.3% of students enrolled in medical school in 2020. Only 3.8% of doctors were Latinx in 2019, even though the report projects that the fast-growing Latinx community will need 45,000 new doctors.
“The gap between the country’s increasing health care demands and the supply of doctors to adequately respond has become more evident as we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. David J. Skorton, AAMC’s president and CEO, in a statement. “The challenge of having enough doctors to serve our communities will get even worse as the nation’s population continues to grow and age.”