The Physiatry Workforce in 2019 and Beyond, Part 1: Results from a Cross-sectional Survey

Gaetano J. Forte, Margaret Langelier, Shen Wang, Timothy M. Dall, Ryan L. Reynolds, Ritashree Chakrabarti, John Whyte, Nethra Sridhara Ankam, Thiru M. Annaswamy, Michael Fredericson, Nitin B. Jain, Danielle Perret Karimi, David C. Morgenroth, Chloe Slocum, Eric Wisotzky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective The aim of the study was to describe the current physiatrist workforce in the United States. Design An online, cross-sectional survey of board-certified physiatrists in 2019 (N = 616 completed, 30.1% response) collected information about demographic and practice characteristics, including age, sex, practice area, practice setting, hours worked, patient characteristics, staffing, and work responsibilities. Physiatrists were stratified by substantive practice patterns using a cluster analysis approach. Survey responses were arrayed across the practice patterns and differences noted. Results The practice patterns identified included musculoskeletal/pain medicine, general/neurological rehabilitation, academic practice, pediatric rehabilitation, orthopedic/complex conditions rehabilitation, and disability/occupational rehabilitation. Many differences were observed across these practice patterns. Notably, primary practice setting and the extent and ways in which other healthcare staff are used in physiatry practices differed across practice patterns. Physiatrists working in musculoskeletal/pain medicine and disability/occupational rehabilitation were least likely to work with nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Physiatrists working in academic practice, general/neurological rehabilitation, and pediatric rehabilitation were most likely to have primary practice settings in hospitals. Conclusions Physiatry is an evolving medical specialty affected by many of the same trends as other medical specialties. The results of this survey can inform policy discussions and further research on the effects of these trends on physiatrists and physiatry practice in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)866-876
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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