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Research Shows Rapid Decline in Geriatric Medicine Studies

Armen Hareyan's picture

The older population may soon be facing a medical care crisis as numbers of students studying geriatric medicine continue to decrease rapidly, say researchers at the University of Cincinnati.

It is estimated that by the year 2030, there will be more than 70 million people over the age of 65 in the United States.

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According to the data collected over the last decade, the number of certified geriatricians in the United States has declined from 8,800 to 7,100.

"The population of doctors who are trained to deal with problems of aging people is dropping dramatically," said Elizabeth Bragg, PhD, of UC's Institute for the Study of Health and co-investigator of the study, adding that trends in the data revealed that numbers will continue to decrease.

Results showed that from 1999 to 2006, the percentage of people entering family medicine or one of its subspecialties, including geriatrics, has dropped 6.3 percent.

Only 67 percent of positions in fellowship programs, needed for geriatric students to graduate, were filled during 2005