Objective. To examine the size and characteristics of the health services research (HSR) workforce; the job satisfaction, job security, and future plans reported by the workforce; and the future of the HSR workforce supply.
Data Sources. (1) AcademyHealth active and lapsed members since 2000 and annual research meeting presenters and interest group participants; (2) principal investigators of research projects listed in the HSRProj database; and (3) authors of articles published in two HSR journals.
Study Design. Data on investigators conducting HSR in selected venues were collected and compared in order to identify the percentage of the HSR workforce represented in the “core” versus related disciplines and to investigate the extent to which the “core” researchers publish, present, or participate in disciplinary venues.
Principal Findings. The field appears to have grown dramatically since 1995, from an estimated 5,000 health services researchers to an estimated 11,596 in 2007. This is a broad workforce characterized by various levels of involvement in the field. Some researchers self-identify with the field of HSR, while others are associated primarily with venues related to specific disciplines. Many researchers who identify with HSR also publish in venues related to multiple other disciplines.
Conclusions. The field may face future challenges related to demographic change, such as an aging workforce and an increased need for diversity. International collaboration appears common, and in the future the field may need to be defined internationally rather than nationally. At the same time, there are also many indications that HSR is a good field to work in. Health services researchers reported high levels of satisfaction with their profession and current employer, as well as little desire to change jobs and little concern about job security.