Many foreign-trained physicians struggle to put their medical training and experience to use in their new home. Some are refugees or asylees. Others are immigrants. All have unique knowledge and insight that would help them provide quality care to their countrymen and others. Finding a suitable medical residency is often among their largest challenges on the path to licensure. Our goal is to find ways to make it easier for foreign-trained physicians to find a residency, use their hard-won skills and serve others.
Find Background Material Here
We have assembled background materials to help you understand the situation of foreign-trained physicians in Minnesota. Use these links to find:
- An Executive Summary — a one-page overview of Minnesota's changing population, the significance of patient/doctor racial concordance, barriers to foreign-trained physician licensure and potential solutions from other states.
- Building Strength in Cultural Care: Recruiting Refugee Physicians — a seven-page version of the Executive Summary, with clickable links to cited source material.
- Focus Group Summaries — we conducted three focus groups with foreign-trained physicians in late 2009, and with area residency directors in July, 2010. A condensed version of their core concerns and struggles is presented in these four documents:
As a resource to foreign-trained health care professionals seeking licensure in the US, the St. Paul-based program, African and American Friendship Association For Cooperation and Development (AAFACD), has posted online its downloadable document, Needs Assessment for Foreign-Trained Health Professionals in Minnesota
To prepare and provide information on licensure to refugee health care professionals, AAFACD has also collaborated with RefugeeWorks, a technical provider to the US Office of Refugee Resettlement, which recently produced a booklet, Opportunities for Refugee Physicians and Nurses, available for download in PDF format. Learn more about Wilhelmina Holder, whose experiences as a foreign-trained physician inspired her to start this program, in this article that appeared in RefugeeWorks newsletter. (PDF)
Minnesota Medicine, the magazine of the Minnesota Medical Association, carried an article on the plight of foreign-trained physicians in its April 2010 issue. The article, Willing and Able to Work, is available online.
As a point of comparison, Canadian provincial governments provide these online resources for international medical graduates hoping to become licensed or in need of career assistance. This 81-page booklet is available in PDF format from Manitoba, while Ontario provides this online Access Centre.
This brief piece in American Medical News, International medical graduates find having US clinical experience critical for landing residencies, chronicles the growing business in paid externships.
Find examples of Minnesota Hospital Policies on international medical graduates in these policy statements:
- Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
- Hennepin County Medical Center
- St. Cloud Hospital - Family Medicine Residency (University of Minnesota)
- Medtronic (Word document)
International Medical Graduates and Visa Information from the department of Graduate Medical Education at the University of Minnesota can be viewed online here.
An extensive body of information relevant to testing and licensure of international medical graduates can be found at the site of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.
We have assembled a list of observership/training/preresidency initiatives, available as a Word document. This is intended as a representative rather than exhaustive list of opportunities for IMGs on the path to licensure. The programs offer, variously:
- Counseling, training and retraining, unrelated to any medical institution
- Training to prepare IMGs for securing a residency, with the goal of putting more Spanish-speaking physicians into heavily Latino, underserved areas
- Pre-residency observership and assessment of IMGs' level of preparation to enter a residency program at the institution
- Training/retraining through an urban community college
- IMG observership placement via a state medical association
- An observership program intended for a specific ethnic group (IMGs from India)
- A Minnesota IMG observership in family medicine
Using data from the Minnesota Board of Medical Licensing, we have prepared a tally of country-of-origin of the state's medical residents. (Word document)
The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates has developed a variety of resources to help IMGs learn about the U.S. medical system. These resources, listed and downloadable here, can be used by IMGs at any stage of their journey into U.S. GME programs. They can also be used by staff of GME training programs, hospitals, and other health care institutions who are responsible for orienting new IMG residents and introducing them to U.S. medical culture.
We Welcome Further Discussion
We hope you will join us for a June meeting of Minnesota medical residency directors to discuss your issues and concerns. In the meantime, please contact me for any additional information regarding this project. Thank you for your interest.
Dr. Patricia Walker
Health Partners Center for International Health