The Supply and Rural-Urban Distribution of the Obstetrical Care Workforce in the U.S. 

Monitoring the rural and urban supply and distribution of clinicians who provide obstetrical (OB) services is important for identifying areas that may lack access to OB care and identifying solutions. A new brief, produced by the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho Rural Health Research Center (WWAMI), on the obstetric care workforce shortages describes the supply and geographic distribution of four types of OB care clinicians – obstetricians, advanced practice midwives, midwives (not advanced practice), and family physicians – using data from the 2019 National Plan and Provider Enumeration System and the American Board of Family Medicine. They monitor rural and urban supply and distribution of physicians who provide OB services by linking to county level Urban Influence Codes (UICs), and provide estimates of each clinician type per 100,000 women of child-bearing age (15 through 49 years), describing supply and distribution for rural versus urban counties and among rural counties, micropolitan versus non-core counties. Their findings reveal that significant disparities exist between rural and urban areas in the supply of clinicians who provide OB services, such as more rural areas without Obstetrical Service Clinicians, with less Obstetricians per 100,000 women of child bearing age, few advanced practice Midwives, etc.