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Growing the Psychiatry Workforce Through Expansion or Creation of Residencies and Fellowships: the Results of a Survey by the AADPRT Workforce Task Force



The USA needs to produce more psychiatrists to meet projected workforce deficits. The American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training Directors (AADPRT) sought to examine opportunities for and obstacles to expanding or creating residencies and fellowships.


In November 2019, the authors conducted a survey of residency and fellowship directors. The survey gathered information about new positions, new programs, participation in interprofessional education, and loss of residency or fellowship positions.


The survey was distributed to psychiatry residency (N=231) and fellowship (N=194) directors, with a response rate of 33.4%. One quarter of responding residencies and fellowships reported creating new programs; 24.7% of residency and 17.5% of fellowships reported expansion. The most common reason to develop or expand programs was the shortage of psychiatrists, with the local institution as the most common funding source. Fifty-seven percent reported that they had wanted to expand, but faced barriers, primarily lack of funding. Recruitment and retention of faculty are major challenges. Psychiatry departments frequently (87.5%) participate in interprofessional education, generally perceived as positive. Unfortunately, 15.7% of respondents reported loss of positions or closure of programs.


Creating and expanding residencies and fellowships are common strategies for addressing the shortage of psychiatrists. Barriers include lack of funding and challenges recruiting/retaining faculty. The loss of residency/fellowship positions or closure of programs is a worrisome trend.

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