Background: An unanticipated decrease in applications to podiatric medical schools in the late 1990s has resulted in a decline in the number of podiatric physicians per capita in the United States. This study explores the implications of five possible scenarios for addressing this decline.
Methods: With the help of an advisory committee and data from the American Podiatric Medical Association, projections of the supply of podiatric physicians were developed using five different scenarios of the future. Projections of several factors related to the demand for podiatric physicians were also developed based on a review of the literature.
Results: The projections reveal that unless the number of graduations of new podiatric physicians increases dramatically, the supply will not keep up with the increasing demand for their services.
Conclusion: The growing supply-demand gap revealed by this study will be an important challenge for the podiatric medical profession to overcome during the next couple of decades.