International medical graduates (IMGs) face a unique set of challenges when attempting to pursue their dreams in the United States. Language, cultural, financial, visa and family separation issues can all stand in the way of success. Annie Contreras, a pediatric resident who graduated from SBH, spent three years relearning much of her medical school material in a different language and doing research. Miguel Sánchez, originally from Ecuador and now a SBH student, was accepted to several observer positions in the United States during his medical school vacation and spent a year in Chicago preparing for the exams.
It was 1980 when Dr. Jacqueline Witter published an article on mentoring nurses, a time when women in medicine were not as accepted as they are today. Despite the difficulties that IMGs may face when trying to obtain a residency position for the first time, they should not lose hope. Medical teachers and other medical educators must be valued in order to maintain the mission of medical education.
IMGs have become an integral part of the graduate medical education (GME) and health care system (HCS) workforce in the United States. They bring essential diversity to health care by removing cultural and language barriers. Of these IMGs, 10% came from the European Economic Area and 27% had earned their primary medical degree elsewhere. The 2024 American Medical Association (AMA) Medical Student Promotion Conference (MAC) will be held March 7-8, 2024. In this country, there are more doctors who would help IMGs than cases where they would be presented with implied biases and other challenges.
Roy, adjunct professor of psychiatry at the Oregon Science University, chairs the International Medical Graduate Section (AMA-IMGS) of the AMA and recently provided information on some of the challenges faced by those who trained internationally with the goal of practicing in the U. S. Mohan Bhat and colleagues examine the problems faced by international medical graduates working in the NHS. For those who want to learn more about how to succeed as an IMG, the toolkit for international medical graduates is a valuable resource.
This is an existential struggle for IMGs because if they cannot work, then they must pause their physical existence and that of their family in this country.