TABLE 4-2 Race and Ethnic Origin of Residents in Geriatric Medicine and Psychiatry, 2006

 

Black

American Indian/ Alaskan Native

White

Asian

Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander

Other/ Unknown

Hispanic Origina

Total

Geriatrics (Family Medicine)

4

0

22

15

1

2

5

44

Geriatrics (Internal Medicine)

23

0

92

103

5

20

23

243

Geriatric Psychiatry

7

0

25

32

1

7

8

72

Total

34

0

139

150

7

29

36

359

aHispanic origin was determined separately from race, and so the categories are not mutually exclusive.

SOURCE: Brotherton and Etzel, 2007.

only 104 dentists per 100,000 older adults in Kansas. This variance must be caused by a variety of factors, since these states do not have similar distributions in the numbers of other types of professionals. New Hampshire has a lower-than-average number of pharmacists per population of older adults, for example, while Kansas has a higher-than-average number of registered nurses. The need for health care workers with geriatric skills can also vary according to the distribution of older adults. For example, as discussed in Chapter 2, older adults make up 16.8 percent of Florida’s total population, while they account for only 6.8 percent of Alaska’s population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). Differences by community are likely to also vary widely. Therefore, the needed distribution of the health care workforce for older American can vary by both the state and the individual profession.

The recruitment and retention of health care professionals in rural areas is especially challenging (IOM, 2005), and this is an important factor when discussing the health care needs of the geriatric population, since older adults are disproportionately over-represented in rural areas (Hawes et al., 2005). Older adults that live in rural areas tend to be less healthy than those in urban areas and to have a higher rate of difficulty with activities of daily living (ADLs) (Brand, 2007; Magilvy and Congdon, 2000), while their access to health services is limited by the relatively small number of providers (especially specialists) that choose to work in rural areas. Because of the relatively small number of specialists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners play significant roles in providing health services



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