This case study illustrates how applied demographers operate in a politically charged context of competing interests—here, justifying the decision to locate a new public medical school in one medically underserved region rather than another. We show how to use demographic and other data to gauge the magnitude of future demand for physicians; formulate demographic assumptions about the future to serve decisionmakers’ needs; and frame information to help improve decision making through objective analysis. We detail the steps in projecting future physicians per capita using a method based on the economic concept of physician demand rather than the social concept of need. Our method is computationally simple, intuitive, and easily understood by policymakers. Our case study offers applied demographers a practical approach to physician workforce planning and can be used as an instructional exercise for students, assigned to replicate these projections elsewhere and distill their implications.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: May 28, 2009
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