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Address Shortage of Pediatric Rheumatologists

There are nearly 300,000 children in the U.S. who have juvenile arthritis, yet fewer than 350 board-certified and practicing pediatric rheumatologists. As a result of this severe shortage of pediatric rheumatologists, only 25 percent of children with arthritis are getting the care and treatment they need. In fact, 8 states do not have a single board-certified and practicing pediatric rheumatologist, and 5 states have only one. Further, the workforce is aging as the average pediatric rheumatologist is more than 50-years-old. Even when a child with arthritis is able to see a pediatric rheumatologist, oftentimes the cost of travel and lost time from work and school make accessing treatment prohibitive. These barriers to care result in a sobering statistic - a child with arthritis is required to travel an average of 57 miles to be seen by a pediatric rheumatologist as compared to an average of 25 miles for other pediatric subspecialties.

Of the 75 percent of children with arthritis who are not being treated by a pediatric rheumatologist, many are treated by a pediatrician or adult rheumatologist who is not adequately trained to care for children with arthritis or deal with pediatric issues – whether the stunted bone growth that can result from arthritis and its treatment, or the special requirements of providing treatment to an adolescent. Others simply don’t get treatment at all.

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How You Can Take Action

See how you can help increase access to pediatric rheumatologists through advocacy. You'll learn how you can take action and learn more about one of the Arthritis Foundation's most important policy priorities. Read More >>