AmeriClerkships: The Role of International Medical Graduates in American Primary Health Care

International medical graduates (IMGs) play a key role in the American primary health care system. While American medical graduates traveled to Europe in the late 19th and 20th centuries to learn new medical techniques, starting at around the time of World War II, IMGs began similarly seeking ongoing medical education and experience in the United States. While many IMGs return to their home countries with their new knowledge, a significant portion remain in America, where they fill many of gaps present in the American medical system. Approximately 25 percent of the U.S. physician population consists of IMGs, up from around 10 percent in 1963. Approximately 78 percent of those IMG physicians work in patient care, with around 75 percent of those doctors working in office-based practices.

IMGs have a greater likelihood of receiving training in internal medicine, family medicine, or other primary care fields than United States medical graduates (USMGs). A full 60 percent of first-year residents in family care are IMGs. Likewise, IMGs are more likely than USMGs to provide care in rural and underserved areas of the country. As physicians, they also tend to maintain a much stronger understanding of multiculturalism, which can help them serve their patients more effectively.

About AmeriClerkships: AmeriClerkships programs can help fill the growing need for IMGs in American primary care practices. The organization matches IMGs with physicians for pre-residency clinical training. This education serves as a valuable prerequisite for enrollment in American residency programs.


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