Buffalo may be headed toward a critical shortage of maternity doctors

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Buffalo could soon face a shortage of doctors who specialize in maternity care, according to a survey of medical professionals nationwide.

The survey was conducted by Doximity, a professional medical network, and it shows a national shortage of obstetricians and gynecologists on the horizon, with Buffalo near the top of the list.

Of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, Buffalo was ranked sixth highest at risk for a maternity doctor shortage. 

While the Doximity survey spotlights an impending shortage of OB-GYNs, maternity doctors, there have been a number of studies projecting serious doctor shortages across the board.

The Medical Society of Erie County is also dealing with an “aging out” of doctors among its membership, and they are doing something about it: what you might call a “youth movement.”

 Aimana ElBahtiti, Executive Director of Erie County’s Medical Society has initiated a physician mentoring program–a way of helping the experienced physicians share their years of knowledge with younger doctors.

The benefits, said ElBahtiti, can go both ways, ”Aside from just it being the underpinning of the fate of the Society, those younger physicians also bring so much to the table, in terms of what they are seeing.”

The mentoring program seems to be working. ElBahtiti said the Medical Society’s membership was approaching a 50-50 split of retired members to active members, not a desired ratio. Now they are seeing an uptick among the active membership.

ElBahtiti believes a vibrant active medical society is needed now more than ever, “You would expect that during a global health crisis a medical society should flourish, not struggle, because the public at large–not just physicians–should lean on the Medical Society, and we are already seeing that momentum.”

Executive Director ElBahtiti adds, the Medical Society of Erie County is not only a vital platform for doctors, it can also be helpful for consumers, and here is a link to the Medical Society’s website.

Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here.

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