United States is experiencing an increased shortage of neurologists who specialize in stroke care, especially in the rural areas, according to the American Academy of Neurology. This shortage is especially severe in vascular neurology.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the US. Neurologists Harold P. Adams, Jr., MD of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and Jose Biller, MD of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine have proposed a bold program to increase the number of stroke specialists. The proposals include-
1.) Encourage more young physicians to specialize in stroke.
2.) Increasing the payout of vascular neurologists.
3.) Opening fellowship programs in vascular neurology to physicians who are graduates of residency programs outside the United States and Canada or allowing non-neurologists to take training in subspecialty stroke care.
4.) Initiating a program to help pay medical school debts of physicians who become stroke specialists, similar to incentive programs for physicians who practice primary care in rural areas.
Dr. Adams said, "Although we would prefer that stroke care continue to be directed by experts in brain disease (neurologists), if the neurology community does not meet the healthcare needs, alternative strategies to meet the future needs of stroke care are needed. Unless the number of neurologists focusing their careers on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cerebrovascular diseases increases, a professional void will develop."