Multiple studies have uncovered a considerable amount of discrimination toward those with medical degrees from institutions outside of the United States in the selection process for American residency positions. Two independent studies suggested that family practice programs sent applications in response to identical requests 80 percent more often when the candidate graduated from an American medical school. Many academics and medical professionals have pointed to graduates of foreign institutions as a solution for the current shortage of physicians, which will become sharper in coming years as health care reform comes into effect. By expanding coverage, the health care reform bill will result in a considerable increase in demand for general practitioners and other family doctors. Discrimination exists outside of family practice, as studies have seen similar results in psychiatry and surgery.
Many program directors seem to discriminate against graduates of medical schools outside of the United States despite the assertion that medical education should function as a meritocracy. Some programs enforce quotas on the number of these physicians accepted as residents, and some educators have actually expressed a degree of embarrassment about the presence of foreign graduates in their programs. Despite this discrimination, foreign graduates have consistently outperformed American graduates on the In-Training Examination since 1995. The presence of international graduates generally strengthens programs by providing diversity of culture and perspective.
Professionals inside and outside the medical community have called for a reexamination of residency selection processes, reducing the amount of non-academic prejudice exercised by committees. American medicine owes an enormous debt to the discoveries made by physicians educated in other countries and, while it outwardly renounces discrimination, evidence suggests that a large degree of prejudice remains. Instituting a monitoring system would perhaps reinforce this sentiment and demonstrate the unacceptability of caps and quotas in a self-proclaimed meritocracy.
Graduates of international medical schools face a number of challenges when they come to the United States to begin a residency. They do not need the added difficulty of securing a residency position due to discrimination, which ignores their demonstrated academic abilities.
AmeriClerkships grants graduates of foreign medical schools the ability to gain clinical experience in the United States before applying to residency programs. Qualified medical graduates pair with attending physicians and other hospital professionals, who offer training and evaluation. With AmeriClerkships, international students gain insight into the American medical system, easing the transition and accruing invaluable experience.