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Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP)

Glossary of Terms

Academic Research Track: Refers to additional training beyond the ACGME-accredited program length typically offered by university-based programs to develop the future educators in the field. For the purpose of J-1 sponsorship, an academic research track is considered to be non-standard training.

Affiliation Agreement: A written document that addresses GME responsibilities between a sponsoring institution and a major participating site.

American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Member Board Endorsement: The member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) are viewed as the subject matter experts on educational developments within their respective medical specialties. All non-standard disciplines being considered for ECFMG J-1 sponsorship must be endorsed by an appropriate ABMS member board(s).

Applicant: For the purpose of J-1 visa sponsorship, an applicant is a foreign national physician who has been issued a U.S. GME contract and for whom a sponsorship application has been submitted through ECFMG. Applicants may be physicians who are not currently sponsored by ECFMG (“initial applicants”) or those seeking a renewal/continuation of ECFMG J-1 visa sponsorship (“currently sponsored applicants”).

Clinical Supervision*: A required faculty activity involving the oversight and direction of patient care activities that are provided by residents/fellows.

Curriculum Vitae (CV): The CV must detail, in a month/year to month/year format, an applicant’s education and professional history from completion of medical school to date.

Didactic*: A kind of systematic instruction by means of planned learning experiences, such as conferences or grand rounds.

ECFMG Certification: The purpose of ECFMG Certification is to assess whether international medical graduates are ready to enter U.S. residency and fellowship programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). To be certified by ECFMG, one must complete an Application for ECFMG Certification; pass a series of exams; and provide ECFMG with copies of medical education credentials, which ECFMG verifies directly with the medical school.

Evaluation: Assessment of a resident/fellow with the primary purpose of providing feedback for improvement as well as to reinforce skills and behaviors that meet established criteria and standards without passing a judgment in the form of a permanently recorded grade or score.

Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC): The GMEC is a part of an organized administrative system providing direct oversight of the GME programs at a given U.S. teaching hospital. GMEC review and approval of a non-standard subspecialty curriculum and program description is an essential component of the ECFMG application for sponsorship in a non-standard discipline.

Good Standing: For the purpose of J-1 sponsorship, an accredited parent program is considered to be in good standing when it is authorized by ACGME to accept residents and grant credit toward ABMS member board certification.

International Medical Graduate (IMG): A physician who received his/her basic medical degree or qualification from a medical school located outside the United States and Canada. Citizens of the United States who have completed their medical education in schools outside the United States and Canada are considered international medical graduates; non-U.S. citizens who have graduated from medical schools in the United States and Canada are not considered international medical graduates.

Medical School Affiliation*: A formal relationship between a medical school and a sponsoring institution.

Non-Standard Subspecialty Discipline: An advanced clinical subspecialty discipline or pathway for which there is no ACGME accreditation and/or ABMS member board certification available.

Parent Program: An ACGME-accredited specialty/subspecialty program housed within the same teaching hospital (or an affiliated institution) that shares resources with the non-standard training program. Identification of an accredited parent program ensures that the non-standard activity is being conducted at a recognized academic medical center, not a private clinic or physician practice. Furthermore, it provides assurances that the institution possesses adequate educational resources and expertise in the core discipline to offer the advanced training. The program director of the associated accredited “parent” program is not expected to participate in the recruitment, selection, instruction, supervision, counseling, or evaluation of non-standard program participants.

Participating Site*: An organization providing educational experiences or educational assignments/rotations for residents/fellows.

Scholarly Activity*: An opportunity for residents/fellows and faculty to participate in research, as well as organized clinical discussions, rounds, journal clubs, and conferences.

Statement of Educational Objectives (SEO): This document is not a personal statement, but rather a signed letter, written by an applicant to specifically outline his/her overall educational objectives as an ECFMG-sponsored clinical trainee. The SEO defines the applicant’s training objectives as they apply to the proposed program, discloses any future U.S. training objectives, and states the overall intended duration of stay in the United States.

Statement of Need: A letter provided by the federal office of the Ministry of Health in the applicant’s country of last legal permanent residence. See the EVSP Reference Guide for required format and wording. A certified, word-for-word English translation must accompany a non-English document. In all cases, this letter must state the exact name of the discipline to which the applicant is applying, as it has been approved by an ABMS member board.

Teaching Hospital: The entity that, in some cases, assumes the ultimate financial responsibility and always assumes academic responsibility for a program of GME.

Training Program Director: The designated physician responsible for the operation and oversight of the non-standard training program. The program director develops the goals and objective for the non-standard training program and provides a detailed curriculum for a focused educational program that is consistent with GME standards. The program director ensures adequate educational and financial resources necessary to offer the non-standard training program.

Training Program Liaison (TPL): A designated person who serves as the official teaching hospital representative and streamlines communication between the training program, J-1 physician, and ECFMG. This communication ensures regulatory compliance and provides required administrative oversight.

Specifically, the TPL is required to:

  • initiate and manage the sponsorship application process to ensure timely submission of accurate and complete documentation, including primary-source verification of the GME contract.
  • monitor the arrival and on-going participation of J-1 physicians.
  • notify ECFMG in advance of any proposed changes in a physician’s approved training program or activity.
  • understand and accept all responsibilities outlined in ECFMG’s EVSP Reference Guide.
  • attend and participate in ECFMG’s educational webinars and other outreach programs, when possible, including on-site hospital visits, conferences, etc.

Verification Statement: A signed GMEC & Parent Program Verification Statement serves to confirm the following:

  • The non-standard training program and its training duration have been reviewed and approved by the teaching hospital’s Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC).
  • The institution is in full compliance with ACGME requirements as evidenced by its most recent ACGME institutional status.
  • All accreditable programs within the institution are in good standing with the ACGME.
  • The non-standard training program is directly associated with the appropriate ACGME-accredited parent specialty or subspecialty.
  • The non-standard training program and institution understand that J-1 physicians are prohibited from billing directly for services rendered.
* Taken from ACGME Glossary of Terms

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Last updated December 27, 2011.
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