On the path to transforming healthcare in America, some of the biggest challenges ahead lie in bridging gaps in care for medically underserved populations. A physician workforce study sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects a “significant shortage” of primary care physicians, as well as medical and surgical specialists, in the coming decade.1 In a statement accompanying the study results, AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD said, “These updated projections confirm that the physician shortage is real, it’s significant, and the nation must begin to train more doctors now if patients are going to be able to receive the care they need when they need it in the near future.” The physician shortage, however, represents just one facet of the complex challenge of medically underserved populations. This whitepaper delves deeper into contributing factors and possible approaches for overcoming barriers to care.
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