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09-23-2017 | Primary care | Review | Article

The Time Is Now: Diabetes Fellowships in the United States

Journal: Current Diabetes Reports

Authors: Archana R. Sadhu, Amber M. Healy, Shivajirao P. Patil, Doyle M. Cummings, Jay H. Shubrook, Robert J. Tanenberg

Publisher: Springer US

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Abstract

Purpose of Review

Diabetes is a complex and costly chronic disease that is growing at an alarming rate. In the USA, we have a shortage of physicians who are experts in the care of patients with diabetes, traditionally endocrinologists. Therefore, the majority of patients with diabetes are managed by primary care physicians. With the rapid evolution in new diabetes medications and technologies, primary care physicians would benefit from additional focused and intensive training to manage the many aspects of this disease. Diabetes fellowships designed specifically for primary care physicians is one solution to rapidly expand a well-trained workforce in the management of patients with diabetes.

Recent Findings

There are currently two successful diabetes fellowship programs that meet this need for creating more expert diabetes clinicians and researchers outside of traditional endocrinology fellowships. We review the structure of these programs including funding and curriculum as well as the outcomes of the graduates.

Summary

The growth of the diabetes epidemic has outpaced current resources for readily accessible expert diabetes clinical care. Diabetes fellowships aimed for primary care physicians are a successful strategy to train diabetes-focused physicians. Expansion of these programs should be encouraged and support to grow the cadre of clinicians with expertise in diabetes care and improve patient access and outcomes.
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