The Past Is Prologue: The Future of Sleep Medicine

J Clin Sleep Med. 2017 Jan 15;13(1):127-135. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.6406.


The field of sleep medicine has gone through tremendous growth and development over a short period of time, culminating in recognition of the field as an independent medical subspecialty by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). However, the fellowship training requirement that is now mandatory for sleep medicine board certification eligibility has had the unintended consequence of restricting the influx of young physicians to the field. In response to the potential workforce shortage confronting the field of sleep medicine, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) board of directors has developed a comprehensive plan to strengthen the field by growing sleep fellowship programs, exploring novel sleep medicine training opportunities, creating and fostering the sleep team (with special emphasis on engagement of primary care providers), embracing the role of consumer sleep technologies, and expanding the reach of sleep specialists through telemedicine. The AASM plans summarized in this special article represent efforts to confront serious workforce challenges and turn them into opportunities that will improve the health of both our patients and our field.

Keywords: development; fellowship programs; growth; sleep medicine; workforce.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Humans
  • Sleep Medicine Specialty / education*
  • Sleep Medicine Specialty / methods*
  • Sleep Medicine Specialty / trends
  • United States