Emerging Medical Specialties: A Comprehensive Guide for Physicians

In a rapidly evolving medical landscape, new opportunities for physicians are emerging. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has identified five promising specialties, and we’re here to dive into each of them. From longevity specialists to clinical informaticians, these careers offer diverse paths and challenges. In this article, we’ll explore these emerging medical specialties, the training required, potential earnings, and the opportunities they offer.

1. Longevity Specialists

Longevity Medicine: Enhancing Healthspan

Longevity specialists, also known as anti-aging physicians, focus on helping patients maintain their health and quality of life as they age. They aim to prevent or minimize age-related diseases, emphasizing healthspan over lifespan. Unlike traditional medical professions, the path to becoming a longevity specialist is less conventional. Certification can be obtained online, and an MD or Ph.D. is not always required. Prominent figures in the field, like Dr. David Sinclair, have diverse backgrounds, proving that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

2. Medical Virtualists

Telehealth’s Growing Role in Medicine

The rise of telehealth, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to the emergence of medical virtualists. Rather than constituting a separate specialty, virtualists are a specialized practice within existing fields. Some specialties, such as telepsychiatry and teleradiology, are more suited for virtual medicine. Medical schools are now offering telehealth courses to prepare future physicians for this evolving practice.

3. Nocturnist Careers

The Night Shift in Hospital Medicine

Nocturnists, similar to hospitalists, work night shifts, admitting and managing patients during the late hours. They enjoy autonomy but must make crucial decisions without specialist support available at night. Nocturnists handle fewer administrative tasks than their daytime counterparts, making their roles distinct. Training in internal medicine or family medicine, combined with a three-year residency, is the typical pathway to becoming a nocturnist.

4. Cancer Immunology

Harnessing the Immune System in Cancer Treatment

Cancer immunologists utilize the body’s immune response to combat various types of cancer. They may work as researchers or clinicians, focusing on immunotherapies. The path to becoming a cancer immunologist varies, with research-focused individuals pursuing Ph.D. or postdoctoral training, while clinicians complete residency and fellowship programs. Compensation differs, with clinicians earning more.

5. Clinical Informaticians

Medicine Meets Information Science

Clinical informaticians bridge medicine, information science, and computer science, optimizing patient data for healthcare professionals and patients. They can work in various roles, including chief medical information officers or advisors to healthcare-related companies. Two pathways lead to board certification: the practice pathway, where clinical informatics experience is essential, or the fellowship pathway, which requires a two-year fellowship. Compensation varies based on the role.

6. Lifestyle Medicine

Preventing and Treating Chronic Diseases through Lifestyle

Lifestyle medicine physicians focus on preventing, treating, and even reversing chronic diseases through evidence-based lifestyle modifications. They promote dietary changes, physical activity regimens, and stress management plans. Two pathways to board certification are available: the experiential pathway for practicing attending physicians and the educational pathway for residents. Compensation depends on your primary practice.


The field of medicine is constantly evolving, offering diverse career paths beyond traditional specialties. From longevity specialists to clinical informaticians, these emerging medical specialties provide physicians with unique opportunities to make a difference in patients’ lives. As the medical industry continues to transform, embracing these new pathways can be a rewarding choice for those ready to embark on innovative journeys. Stay tuned for more in-depth insights into each of these specialties, and explore the opportunities they offer for your medical career.