What is an International Medical Graduate? A Comprehensive Guide

Learn what an international medical graduate is, how to become one, what visas are available for IMGs, how they contribute to healthcare access, and more.

What is an International Medical Graduate? A Comprehensive Guide

The definition of an international medical graduate (IMG) is a doctor who has obtained a basic medical degree from a medical school located outside the United States and Canada that is not accredited by a U. S. accrediting body such as the Department of State, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, or the American Osteopathic Association. This type of doctor is essential for producing more primary care physicians for underserved and vulnerable populations in California. The J-1 foreign doctor visa is sponsored by the Commission on Education for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and is the preferred visa for residencies and scholarships at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Some Canadian medical schools that offer programs for visiting students include the University of Toronto School of Medicine, the Queen's University School of Medicine, the UBC School of Medicine, and the University of Alberta School of Medicine. If you are a Canadian citizen and you have a position of residence in the USA, you'll need to apply to the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and obtain a J-1 visa in order to train and work in the United States. You can even review medical school interview questions to practice answering some of the most common questions that future medical professionals face. Data shows that international medical graduates (IMG), both born in the United States and abroad, are more likely to enter primary care specialties and practice in underserved areas. By comparison, regular graduates of medical schools in the United States and Canada must also complete steps 1 and 2 of the USMLE, but they can participate in the NRMP while they are in their final year of medical school before earning their medical degree. As an international medical graduate, you may have to take additional steps to verify your medical degree, complete additional examinations, or sign a service contract that will commit you to practice in a particular area for a specific period of time. While there are some Canadian medical schools that accept U.

students and international applicants, the latter cannot participate in the competition unless they become permanent residents or Canadian citizens. Otherwise, any Canadian citizen who has graduated from an international medical school (including Canadian-eligible American medical schools) is considered an IMG. Make sure to visit the FSMB website in advance, as you don't want to waste time or money applying for permits in states that limit training permits or recognize fewer international medical schools than those listed in the full list of the World Directory of Medical Schools. Both U. S.-born and foreign-born IMGs play an important role in promoting access to health care, as they are more likely to practice in low-income rural and urban communities that do not have sufficient services from American medical graduates. However, the representation of U.

medical graduates varies from specialty to specialty, and IMGs currently represent approximately one-third or more of practicing physicians and GME trainees in internal medicine, psychiatry, neurology, and pathology. This report quantifies the current and historical trends in the representation of IMGs in graduate medical education (GME) and in the workforce of practicing physicians in the United States for each of the 20 most important specialties of residency.

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