Hospital training cardiologists ahead of predicted physician shortage

Posted at 6:50 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 19:55:04-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A local hospital is taking steps to educate new doctors to specialize in cardiology following reports of physician shortages in the coming decades.

St. Thomas Heart is expected to start training the next generation of heart doctors in partnership with University of Tennessee. They're inviting doctors to participate in a three year program starting next summer.

The news comes as studies show serious physician shortages could happen in the next two or three decades.

"Roughly, half of all cardiologists are over the age of 55," said Dr. Elias Haddad, an interventional cardiologist for St. Thomas Heart. "You can imagine what that means in terms of the shortages that will develop over the next 20 years."

Dr. Haddad is an associate program director for the new fellowship with UT. He said the future is unclear for physicians as the population in Tennessee changes, but small pushes for specialist doctors could help.

"Training is going to be a major part of the solution," said Dr. Haddad. "So, training more cardiologists, high quality cardiologists. And that's where we're trying to step into that to make our contribution."

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the estimated shortage amount could be between 50,000 and 130,000 in under two decades.