A systematic effort is underway to rationalize the planning of physician supply. This paper summarizes the current methodologies available and focuses on the attempts to determine the optimal psychiatrist-to-population ratio in Canada. The impact of several variables influencing this ratio is discussed. An outline of the correlation between target physician supply and requirements of future trainees is presented. While the relevant methodology is rapidly evolving, an improved process of data collection is urgently required. A number of challenges for our profession lay ahead, such as the need for sensitive and reliable measures of the adequacy of psychiatrist and subspecialist supply and public issues arising from the poor geographic distribution of psychiatric manpower.
Physician resource variables and their impact on the future pool of research expertise among psychiatrists: the Canadian Association of Professors of Psychiatry and Canadian Psychiatric Association Survey.
To assess the impact of the increased proportion of female psychiatrists and trainees, the rapid reduction of international medical graduates allowed in the country, and the expanding number of practitioners with subspecialization on the future pool of psychiatrist researchers in Canadian academic departments of psychiatry.
A questionnaire was adapted to suit the Canadian milieu and distributed to a target population of 2484, including a core of 522 full-time faculty.
Female psychiatrists responding to the questionnaire reported less research involvement overall than their male counterparts. International medical graduates with both undergraduate and residency training abroad reported more research interests than other graduate categories. Respondents training in a subspecialty showed no difference in research commitment.
Concerted efforts must be made to recruit, support, and retain female researchers. Particular attention must be paid to developing research expertise among Canadian medical graduates. The trend towards subspecialization influences only the selection of research topic.