Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States. There are many patients who need cardiologists, but there isn’t enough doctors.

According to a report from the American College of Cardiology, the number of physicians who are licensed to practice cardiology will have to double by 2050 to keep up with the growing population of people suffering from heart disease.

“We have a significant shortage of 3,000 cardiologists in the workplace today, and all indicators are that it’s going to get worse if we don’t do something,”George P. Rodgers M.D. F.A.C.C, Chair of the ACC Board of Trustees Workforce Task Force, said.

New treatments that allow patients to live longer with heart disease and obesity are driving up the demand for cardiologists. Moreover, over 40 percent of the cardiologists currently working are over 55 and close to retirement.

The number of training opportunities for cardiologists is limited. Policymakers incorrectly assumed in the 1990s that family practitioners would treat cardiac disease. This resulted in a 25 percent reduction in the number cardiologist training places. While cardiology has a growing population of minorities and women in other medical fields, it is still largely underrepresented. Hispanics, African Americans, and Hispanics make up just 6 percent of all cardiologists. Women account for 12 percent.

The ACC reports that it recommends solutions such as increasing the number and skill of fellowships, reducing known factors which may encourage early retirement, and incentivizing underrepresented minorities to study cardiology.

“We need to advocate for more training spots and funding for cardiovascular specialists and, in the meantime, find creative and more effective ways of delivering care,”Alfred A. Bove M.D. F.A.C.C. President of the ACC “Team-based care is a major opportunity for improving the current and future workforce crisis.”

Visit www.amazon.com for more information www.acc.org.