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Relocation of Obstetrician–Gynecologists in the United States, 2005–2015

Xierali, Imam M. PhD; Nivet, Marc A. EdD, MBA; Rayburn, William F. MD, MBA

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001901
Contents: Original Research

OBJECTIVE: To examine recent trends in the relocation of obstetrician–gynecologists (ob-gyns) in the United States.

METHODS: This longitudinal descriptive study analyzed relocation patterns of ob-gyns between the earliest reference point (2005) and most recently (2015). A physician's county location in a year was compared with his or her location during the previous year. Physician background and county characteristics came from three data resources (Association of American Medical Colleges databases, American Medical Association Physician Masterfile, American Community Survey). A multilevel logistic regression model was used to model factors associated with relocation for the entire period.

RESULTS: An average of 2,446 (6.5%) of the 37,385 ob-gyns in practice moved per year. Approximately one third (32.1%) relocated (usually once or twice) during the 10 years with more than half (58.2%) remaining within their state. The odds of relocating were higher if the ob-gyns was young, male, black, or an international medical graduate. Relocations were predominantly to counties that were either urban or with a lower percentage of the population in poverty (less than 21.2%). Although the number of ob-gyns and women 18 years or older increased in most states, the population to ob-gyn ratio increased from 3,155 in 2006 to 3,293 in 2015. Net gains from relocations were most apparent in Florida, California, and Washington, whereas net losses were especially apparent in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and New York.

CONCLUSION: Approximately one in every three ob-gyns in the United States moved at least once in the past 10 years to counties that were predominantly urban or with less poverty. Observing this trend might contribute to a better understanding about the uneven national distribution of ob-gyns.

One in every three obstetrician–gynecologists relocated at least once in the past 10 years to counties that were usually urban or with less poverty.

Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas; and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Corresponding author: William F. Rayburn, MD, MBA, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1 University of New Mexico, MSC09 5370, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001; email:

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

Dr. Rayburn provides services to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as a consultant on workforce issues and planning.

All opinions expressed in this article are the authors' and do not necessarily reflect the policies and views of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Each author has indicated that he or she has met the journal's requirements for authorship.

© 2017 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.