Christian Downs on the Importance of Developing the Oncology Workforce

April 28, 2017

Christian Downs, MHA, JD, executive director of the Association of Community Cancer Centers, explains how the oncology workforce shortage needs to be addressed by both bringing talented doctors from abroad and raising the next generation in the United States.

Christian Downs, MHA, JD, executive director of the Association of Community Cancer Centers, explains how the oncology workforce shortage needs to be addressed by both bringing talented doctors from abroad and raising the next generation in the United States.

Transcript (slightly modified)

There has been a lot of talk from the new administration of securing our borders. What does this mean for the work supply in the oncology profession? Will this have an impact on whether or not there are enough clinicians coming from abroad to learn from US doctors?

That’s actually a great question, because I think that’s one of the things that’s not understood. The oncology workforce in this country is well undermanned, and that’s not just physicians. It’s nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and so we need to be able to broaden that workforce, because demand is only going to grow, not only in clinical complexity, but just sheer volume and numbers.

We need to make sure we can bring in good people who can help us, but that we’re also developing people here in the country that are going to be the next generation of researchers, clinicians, nurses, social workers. Yeah, so, that’s going to be an issue, and I think that’s something that we’re going to have to keep an eye on, because we’re going to need more. We’ve got to bring good people in, and we have to bring good people up.