Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Minnesota Psychiatrist Workforce Shortage

It should be well known by now that Minnesota has a shortage of psychiatrists.  Government officials and administrators everywhere think that the solutions are simple - hire more psychiatrists or (even better from the administrators perspective) - hire more non-physicians to prescribe increasing amounts of medications for psychiatric disorders.  Various posts on this blog elaborate what the real problems are and why it is not a straightforward hiring problem.  There are various markers that point to the real problem as rationing and business approaches to psychiatric care.  At the latest Minnesota Psychiatric Society meeting, there was an invitation to participate in an interview project that is being conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health.  I am posting the following description of that project here as a public service announcement.  I think it offers a rare opportunity to provide direct information on the practice environment to government officials.  Please contact Ms. Morgenstern for the interview if you are interested.  She will provide you with a document of the standard interview questions.  I encourage everyone to be very frank about the practice environment here in Minnesota and what is wrong with it.

The Minnesota Department of Health Office of Rural and Primary Care is doing an interview project on the psychiatric workforce shortage. We wish to conduct ethnographic-style interviews of 30 minutes to a half hour in length with practicing and retired psychiatrists to get their perspectives on job satisfaction, location desirability, and difficulties in entering the workforce. This information will be used in conjunction with other workforce data in a report to the Mental Health Workforce Commission, which is charged with making recommendations to the legislature. If you would like to be a part of this project, please email

George Dawson, MD, DFAPA


By Alexrk2 (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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