A Shortage of Neurologists – We Must Act Now: A Report From the AAN 2019 Transforming Leaders Program

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In nearly every US state, a large mismatch exists between the need for neurologists and neurologic services and the availability of neurologists to provide these services. Patients with neurologic disorders are rising in prevalence and require access to high-level care to reduce disability. The current neurology mismatch reduces access to care, worsens patient outcomes, and erodes career satisfaction and quality of life for neurologists as they face increasingly insurmountable demands. As a community, we must address this mismatch in the demand and supply of neurologic care in an aggressive and sustained manner to ensure the future health of our patients and our specialty. The American Academy of Neurology has multiple ongoing initiatives to help reduce and resolve the existing mismatch. With the intent of raising awareness and widening the debate nationally, we present a strategic plan that the Academy could implement to coordinate and expand existing efforts. We characterize the suggested strategies as shaping the demand, enhancing the workforce, and advocating for neurologist value. The proposed framework is based on available data and expert opinion when data were lacking. Prioritization of strategies will vary by geography, practice setting, and local resources. The time to act is now to allow concerted effort and targeted interventions to avert this looming public health crisis.