The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) projects the need for allogeneic unrelated blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) in the United States as 10,000 per year. Although the NMDP is preparing to facilitate that number by the year 2015, there are several barriers to meeting this goal, including the need to recruit more health care personnel, including BMT physicians. To learn how best to recruit BMT physicians, we examined why practicing BMT physicians chose to enter the field and why others did not. We conducted a Web-based survey among pediatric hematology/oncology (PHO) and BMT physician providers and trainees to identify the factors influencing their decision to choose or not choose a career in BMT. Out of 259 respondents (48% male, 74% of Caucasian origin), 94 self-identified as BMT physicians, 112 as PHO physicians, and 53 as PHO trainees. The PHO and BMT providers spent an average of 53% of their time in clinical activities. More than two-thirds of PHO providers reported providing BMT services at their institutions, most commonly for inpatient coverage (73%). The proportion of providers exposed to BMT early in training was significantly higher among BMT providers compared with PHO providers (51% versus 18% in medical school [P < .0001]; 70% versus 50% during residency [P < .005]). Exposure during fellowship (94%) did not differ between the 2 groups. The decision to pursue a career in BMT was made before fellowship (medical school or residency) by 50% of the respondents. A lower proportion of BMT providers than PHO providers reported current involvement in the education of medical students and residents (76% versus 98%; P < .0001). Of the 53 trainees who responded, 64% reported not contemplating a career in BMT. Of these, 68% identified inadequate exposure to BMT before PHO fellowship as the reason behind this decision. Only 26% reported receiving exposure to the BMT field while in medical school, and 43% reported exposure during residency. The 2 most common reasons cited for choosing a career as a BMT physician were the degree of intellectual and scientific challenge (89%) and the influence of role models/mentors in the field (67%). The results of this survey suggest that early exposure to BMT during medical school and residency is associated with increased interest in pursuing a career in BMT. BMT physicians and training program directors can foster interest in the field by promoting BMT-focused education and clinical inpatient and outpatient rotations during medical school and residency. This early exposure to BMT may aid recruitment of future transplantation providers.
Keywords: Bone marrow transplantation; Pediatric; Physician capacity; Recruitment; Workforce.
Copyright © 2013 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.