Dermatopathology workforce in the United States: A survey

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Abstract

Background

Although several studies have documented an undersupply of dermatologic services in the United States, little is known about the dermatopathology workforce.

Objective

Objectives included the following: (1) describe the dermatopathology workforce in the United States; (2) identify characteristics associated with academic dermatopathologists; and (3) explore issues surrounding dermatopathology training.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional survey of all Fellows of the American Society of Dermatopathology (ASDP) practicing in the United States and its territories.

Results

Of 913 ASDP Fellows, 437 (48%) returned a completed questionnaire. Most were male (72%), Caucasian (85%), and had graduated from US/Canadian medical schools (88%). Approximately half (49%) had completed a dermatology residency and a quarter (24%) were in academia. As compared with those in private practice, academic dermatopathologists were more likely to be female (P = .0028), have a medical degree only (P = .0197), and earn $300,000 or less annually (P < .0001). No associations were identified for practice type with either location of medical school (United States/Canada vs other) or year of fellowship graduation (≤1996 vs ≥1997). Although most respondents were satisfied overall with their training, the most common areas identified as inadequate included: coding/billing (47%), biostatistics (38%), pediatric clinical dermatology (27%), and electron microscopy (27%).

Limitations

Moderate response rate and potential recall bias are limitations.

Conclusions

This study of the US dermatopathology workforce provides benchmarks for future studies and strategies for workforce planning.

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