Dermatopathology workforce in the United States: A survey

  • Pitiporn Suwattee
    Affiliations
    Section of Dermatology, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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  • Peter M.H. Cham
    Affiliations
    Department of Dermatology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, San Jose, California
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  • Mahsa Abdollahi
    Affiliations
    Section of Dermatology, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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  • Erin M. Warshaw
    Correspondence
    Correspondence to: Erin M. Warshaw, MD, MS, Section of Dermatology, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota Medical School, 1 Veterans Dr, 111K-Dermatology, Minneapolis, MN 55417.
    Affiliations
    Section of Dermatology, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Search for articles by this author

      Background

      Although several studies have documented an undersupply of dermatologic services in the United States, little is known about the dermatopathology workforce.

      Objective

      Objectives included the following: (1) describe the dermatopathology workforce in the United States; (2) identify characteristics associated with academic dermatopathologists; and (3) explore issues surrounding dermatopathology training.

      Methods

      We conducted a cross-sectional survey of all Fellows of the American Society of Dermatopathology (ASDP) practicing in the United States and its territories.

      Results

      Of 913 ASDP Fellows, 437 (48%) returned a completed questionnaire. Most were male (72%), Caucasian (85%), and had graduated from US/Canadian medical schools (88%). Approximately half (49%) had completed a dermatology residency and a quarter (24%) were in academia. As compared with those in private practice, academic dermatopathologists were more likely to be female ( P = .0028), have a medical degree only ( P = .0197), and earn $300,000 or less annually ( P < .0001). No associations were identified for practice type with either location of medical school (United States/Canada vs other) or year of fellowship graduation (≤1996 vs ≥1997). Although most respondents were satisfied overall with their training, the most common areas identified as inadequate included: coding/billing (47%), biostatistics (38%), pediatric clinical dermatology (27%), and electron microscopy (27%).

      Limitations

      Moderate response rate and potential recall bias are limitations.

      Conclusions

      This study of the US dermatopathology workforce provides benchmarks for future studies and strategies for workforce planning.

      Key words

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