(HealthDay News) — Issues related to physician recruitment to the subspecialty of vascular neurology are discussed in a review published in the December issue of Stroke.

Noting that stroke is the most common acute neurological disease, Harold P. Adams Jr., M.D., from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, and José Biller, M.D., from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, discuss issues relating to vascular neurology subspecialty training. Each year, an average of 38 new physicians enters vascular neurology. The mean age of vascular neurologists is currently 48 years, and about 5 percent are older than 65 years. In the next few years, attrition in the pool of vascular neurologists is likely to occur.

The researchers note that, currently, only physicians who have successfully completed training in an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-approved neurology program can be enrolled in vascular neurology programs; the expansion of this opportunity to graduates of other programs could increase the number of trainees. Efforts need to be started immediately to encourage residents to enter vascular neurology, including recruitment of physicians from other specialties for additional training. Other factors that could encourage recruitment into vascular neurology include a program to help mitigate a vascular neurology trainee’s debts and increasing remuneration for vascular neurologists.

“During the past decade, the development of specialized educational and certification programs in vascular neurology has largely been successful,” the authors write. “Still, problems and stresses have been identified.”

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