As with many specialties, dermatology faces a physician shortage that has implications for patient care. Based on 2013 claim data, the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that 20,000 clinicians are needed to treat skin disease—that’s nearly twice the number of board-certified dermatologists in the United States.

The causes of physician shortages—in dermatology and other specialties—are myriad, including limited graduate medical education slots and a growing aging population. These shortages can create serious obstacles to patient access to a board-certified dermatologist, especially those living in rural communities, potentially hundreds of miles from the closest dermatologist.