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Washington Highlights

AAMC Holds Congressional Briefing on Physician Workforce and Match Day

May 9, 2014—The AAMC hosted a May 6 congressional briefing, titled “Everything You Thought You Knew About Physician Shortages,” that focused on the need to increase investment in physician workforce training and trends from the 2014 National Residency Match Program (NRMP). The briefing, which was widely attended with over 80 participants, featured AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.; H. Hunt Batjer, M.D., FACS, chair of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Department of Neurological Surgery; and Meroë Morse, M.D., a medical resident at the New York University Langone Medical Center Primary Care-Internal Medicine.

As part of a “Match Day” experience, attendees were given envelopes with individual vignettes outlining various Match Day storylines that were statistically drawn from the NRMP’s match results data and AAMC’s Careers in Medicine. Attendees read about the student’s education history, factors that influenced their training preferences, and most importantly, whether or not they secured a residency position or failed to match.

Dr. Morse explained her passion for her patients and attributed her decision to pursue primary care to time spent working as a research assistant at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, stating, “I worked for some of the most dedicated, highly trained specialists in the field of medical and surgical oncology. The hours were long, the pace was maddening at times, and the patients were very sick. I was pretty certain about my calling: I wanted to be a primary care doctor.”

Dr. Morse also explained that her personal experiences with patients were a primary factor, saying, “After witnessing the great lengths that many of these cancer patients went through to obtain medical care and try to beat the odds…I wanted to be an advocate for my patients who needed to navigate the complexities of our medical system.”

Dr. Batjer echoed the AAMC’s concerns regarding the future of the physician workforce and the need to invest in both specialists and primary care physicians. “The top three on that list are unexpected — vascular surgery, cardiology, and neurological surgery — and that relates to the aging public,” he noted, continuing, “We’re going to have problems with stroke, with coronary disease, and what about back disease? Degenerative spine is one of the most common ailments. If you look at our seniors, there is a dramatic difference between specialty requirements and primary care requirements for folks over 65.”

During the question and answer session, Dr. Grover asked Dr. Batjer about the benefit of having different health professions and physician specialties training together, rather than solely by specialty. Dr. Batjer replied, “Neurosurgery is the management of some very sick and very complicated patients. Those patients will not successfully get to the elevator on the way out if we don’t have great infrastructure. You hear the word “team-science,” that’s such a critical element of what we are trying to do to advance the field. Team medicine is exactly the same thing, its deploying colleagues from a variety of disciplines that reinforce each other.”

Dr. Grover also asked Dr. Morse’s opinion on the benefits to training in diverse clinical settings regardless of specialty choice. Dr. Morse explained, “Part of the reason I chose to come to a large New York City public hospital is because I knew I wanted a spectrum of experience. I knew ultimately that I would probably be working in the outpatient setting primarily, but it’s so important to see the spectrum of disease, to see what a clinically ill patient looks like, and to learn how to manage that. It’s absolutely pertinent to have that training.”


Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281

Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806