International medical graduates (IMGs) have become an increasingly important part of the US medical workforce, making up nearly 24% of the family medicine workforce. This article examines the supply, distribution, and characteristics of IMGs in family medicine, as well as their role in the US medical workforce. A cross-sectional study was conducted using descriptive statistics on combined data from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and the American Medical Association. This included information on medical school attended, country of medical school, and citizenship upon entering medical school.
In total, 118,817 family medicine doctors were identified, with IMGs representing 23.8% (n=28,227). Of the 9,579 residents in family medicine, 36.0% (n=3,452) are IMGs. The most common countries for medical school training were Dominica, Mexico, and Saint Martin. Of all family medicine doctors who attended medical school in the Caribbean, 74.5% were US citizens. In total, 40.5% of all family medicine IMGs had US citizenship upon admission to medical school. IMGs play an important role in providing care in family medicine.
They are less likely to work in a group office than US-MGs (32.8% vs. 43.2%), and more likely to work alone on their own (16.5% vs. 11.7%). Of all IMGs practicing family medicine who attended medical school in the Caribbean (n=10,317), 74.5% were US citizens at the time of entering medical school. The top 15 schools that provide IMGs in family medicine are located in the Caribbean (9), Philippines (3), Mexico (2), and Pakistan (1).
Together, they represent just over 40% of all IMGs in family medicine. IMGs practice family medicine in all 50 states. In Florida, New Jersey, and New York, IMGs represent nearly 40% of the family medicine workforce. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the characteristics of IMGs in family medicine personnel and discusses the implications of these findings for the future shortage of doctors. It is clear that IMGs are an integral part of the US healthcare system and will continue to be so for many years to come.