DOI: 10.1542/peds.2023-063678l ISSN: 0031-4005

Child Health and the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Workforce: 2020–2040

Heidi Russell, Jeffrey Hord, Colin J. Orr, Scott Moerdler
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health

Pediatric hematology-oncology (PHO) is 1 of the oldest recognized pediatric subspecialities. PHO physicians care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with all types of cancer and nonmalignant blood conditions, in many cases temporarily assuming the role of a primary care physician because of the complexity and intensity of treatment. However, the number of clinically active PHO subspecialists needed to care for children in the United States remains unknown. Recent papers suggest a potential oversaturation of PHO physicians in some geographic areas. This article is part of a Pediatrics supplement focused on projecting the future supply of the pediatric subspecialty workforce. It draws on information available in the literature, data from the American Board of Pediatrics, and findings from a new microsimulation model estimating the future supply of pediatric subspecialists through 2040. The model predicts a workforce growth in PHO subspecialists of 66% by 2040. Alternative scenarios, including changes in clinical time and fellowship size, resulted in a difference in growth of ±18% from baseline. The model also forecasts significant geographic maldistribution. For example, the current workforce is concentrated in the Northeast Census region and the model predicts the New England Census division will have a 2.9-fold higher clinical workforce equivalent per 100 000 children aged 0 to 18 years than the Mountain Census division by 2040. These findings suggest potential opportunities to improve the PHO subspecialty workforce and the outcomes and experiences of its patient population through educational changes, practice initiatives, policy interventions, and dedicated research.

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