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The Best Cities for Ob-Gyn Physicians

By Emily O'Brien On Jun 27, 2022
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As our healthcare system continues to face a shortage of physicians across a wide spectrum of medical specialties, the scarcity in obstetrics and gynecology is particularly concerning. An obstetrician-gynecologist, or Ob-Gyn, is a medical professional who specializes in female reproductive health. The obstetrician part of their role involves working with pregnant women and delivering babies. Gynecologists specialize in the female reproductive system, treating a wide spectrum of conditions. Many also act as women’s primary care physicians.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has projected an Ob-Gyn shortage of up to 22,000 by 2050.

The country is also facing a rapidly declining birthrate, but this isn’t alleviating the shortage by much. The U.S. birthrate fell by 4 percent in 2020, hitting a record low, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 2020 marked the sixth consecutive year that births declined, averaging a 2 percent decrease per year, since the last increase in 2014. (2021 data has yet to be released.) Some states are seeing an https://www.germane-solutions.com/Blog/365982/Birth-Rates-and-their-Affect-on-OB-GYN-Pediatrics-and-Family-Medicine-Programs-and-Managing-Resources-in-Times-of-Shortage, which means they’ll likely feel the impact of the physician shortage more than others.

[ More Women Populate Obstetrics and Gynecology ]

While people overall are having fewer children these days, if that trend reverses, a shortage of Ob-Gyn specialists will be problematic, and women might find it difficult to receive standard prenatal care.

Ob-Gyn Retirement Wave

Adding to the complexity is the fact that 35 percent of Ob-Gyns are age 55 or above. It’s reported that there are 33 metropolitan areas where at least one-third of Ob-Gyns are in their mid-fifties or above, with retirement on the horizon. This wave will make it challenging to keep up with the demand for women’s healthcare services. Millennials could feel the burden the most when trying to obtain Ob-Gyn care for either routine services or pregnancy-related care.

From preventative services to reproductive cancer screenings, the ACOG suggests women visit their Ob-Gyns annually, or more often if recommended by a healthcare professional. Metropolitan areas with older Ob-Gyns and higher workloads are at the greatest risk of shortages. Alternatively, urban areas with younger Ob-Gyns and lower workloads pose a lower risk of shortage.

[ Why Ob-Gyns Are Burning Out ]

What Are the Best Cities for Ob-Gyn Physicians?

So, what are the best cities for Ob-Gyns physicians to consider during their next job search? According to a 2019 Doximity report, metropolitan areas with the highest risk of shortages, where Ob-Gyns are likely needed most, include:

  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Miami, Florida
  • Riverside, California
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Metropolitan areas with the lowest risk of shortages include:
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Jose, California
  • San Fransisco, California
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Indianapolis, Indiana

In the cities listed above, there’s a younger population of Ob-Gyns, thus the lower risk of shortages. However, we use the term “younger” somewhat lightly—only 19 percent of those in the specialty are younger than 40 years old. Unfortunately, none of the largest metros studied in the Doximity report have at least 30 percent of their Ob-Gyn physicians under the age of 40.

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Additionally, US News & World Health Report evaluated and ranked the top fifty hospitals that see “a significant number of challenging patients for pelvic, cervical, uterine, and ovarian disease and procedures. The top 10 are listed below:

#1: Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

#2: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, New York

#3: Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio

#4: Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts

#5: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas

#6: Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia

#7: University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama

#8: Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland

#9: Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts

#10: Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital in Stanford, California

Of course, the best city for an Ob-Gyn physician will also align with their personal goals. Choosing the right geographic location will depend on your preferences (cities vs. rural areas or mountains vs. flatlands) and what hobbies and outside interests are important to you. Physicians will also want to consult with their spouses and determine what proximity to additional family members is preferred.

Rural locations, in particular, are actively trying to attract and train future physicians to practice in remote and disparate regions, where people might travel for hours even for emergency care. Before taking the plunge, physicians will want to look at the culture of the community, what additional medical resources are available, and what life outside of work might be like.

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