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September 2013

Upcoming Challenges for Neurologists in the United States

Author Affiliations
  • 1Penobscot Bay Medical Center, Union, Maine
  • 2New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York
JAMA Neurol. 2013;70(9):1097-1098. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.3299

The national debt crisis has and will continue to impact neurologists in fundamental ways, all of which threaten the viability of a specialty already projected to have serious workforce shortages. Neurology as a specialty is in crisis. Practice, training, and research funds have all experienced cutbacks, and yet the gross federal debt has risen to 100% of the gross domestic product.1 A highly divided Congress has been unable to agree on a solution to the debt, resulting in across-the-board cuts (sequestration). The pressure on spending will lead to further cuts on the federal level, ones that are often mirrored by the private sector. These financial pressures occur at a time when neurology is poised to modify the course of major diseases such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, and genetic neurologic disease. Assuring the continued development of these advances will require fundamental attention to basics as well as innovative solutions.

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