(HealthDay News) — From 1980 to 2010 the Latino physician shortage worsened, according to a study published online in Academic Medicine.
Gloria Sánchez, M.D., from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues updated and extended a 2000 study on the California Latino physician workforce, comparing changes in the rates of physicians per 100,000 of the population. Data were collected from the U.S. Census to identify total population, total number of physicians and Spanish-language ability for Latino and non-Hispanic white populations.
The researchers found that from 1980 to 2010 the non-Hispanic white physician rate increased per 100,000 of the non-Hispanic white population, from 211 to 315. During the same period, the Latino physician rate per 100,000 of the Latino population decreased from 135 to 105.
In all five states examined, the same trend was observed, with small variations.
Latino physicians were far more likely to speak Spanish than non-Hispanic whites at the national and state levels. During the study period, there was a change in the Latino physician population, with a shift from being mainly foreign born to being evenly split between foreign born and U.S. born.
“The Latino physician shortage has worsened over the past 30 years,” the researchers wrote. “The authors recommend immediate action on the national and local level to increase the supply of Latino physicians.”