Context: There is a long-standing shortage of formally trained Occupational & Environmental Medicine (OEM) physicians despite OEM practitioners experiencing high satisfaction and low burnout.
Objective: To explore the root causes of this shortage and suggest potential remedies.
Methods: Cross-sectional surveys were administered to medical students queried regarding OEM training, practicing OEM physicians queried regarding timing of specialty choice, and OEM Train-in-Place (TIP) program graduates queried regarding satisfaction with training.
Results: Of 247 medical student respondents, 70% had heard of OEM, 60% through one lecture. Of the 160 OEM physicians, 17% first became aware of OEM as medical students, and most would have chosen a different path had they heard sooner. Most TIP program trainees reported that they would not have undertaken specialty training without a TIP program (89%).
Conclusions: Strategies to introduce OEM earlier in medical education and TIP programs for mid-career physicians may help overcome persistent shortages of OEM specialists.
Copyright © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.