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April 27, 2012

Update on ECFMG's Medical School Accreditation Requirement for ECFMG Certification

Effective 2023, physicians applying for ECFMG Certification will be required to graduate from a medical school that has been appropriately accredited. To satisfy this requirement, the physician's medical school must be accredited through a formal process that uses criteria comparable to those established by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), or that uses other globally accepted criteria, such as those put forth by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME).

In 2011, representatives from WFME and the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) made strides toward this goal by collaborating to develop a process for evaluating and recognizing accrediting agencies. The two organizations developed a pilot program through which WFME evaluated the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP), which develops standards for and accredits programs of medicine and other health professions in the Caribbean community. The WFME-FAIMER team evaluated CAAM-HP's application for recognition; observed the agency as it conducted a site visit of a medical school seeking accreditation and a site visit to the medical school's clinical training sites in the United States; monitored an accreditation decision meeting; and wrote a report detailing the agency's compliance with the recognition criteria.

Later this year, the WFME Executive Committee is expected to review the recognition criteria and process established by the WFME-FAIMER team, and the WFME Recognition Committee will make a decision on CAAM-HP's recognition. The pilot is expected to conclude with a comprehensive review and finalization of the recognition process.

Graduates of medical schools accredited by a body that is recognized through this process would meet ECFMG's new accreditation requirement for ECFMG Certification.

Monitor the Medical School Accreditation Requirement section of the ECFMG website for updates on the WFME-FAIMER pilot and other accreditation-related activities.

ECFMG Introduces Electronic Primary-source Verification of Credentials

Earlier this year, ECFMG launched a pilot to verify electronically the medical education credentials of international medical students/graduates who apply to ECFMG. Eighteen international medical schools representing 15 countries are participating. During the first three months of the pilot, ECFMG sent more than 450 electronic verification requests to participating schools.

Offered to schools through the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP), the electronic Credentials Verification program represents a significant advance over the paper primary-source verification process used since 1986. Benefits of electronic Credentials Verification include the elimination of transit times and potential postal delays associated with mailing paper documents and built-in features that help reduce incomplete verifications. Like the paper process, the electronic verification process includes security measures to ensure that only authorized medical school officials are able to verify credentials.

average response time to verification requests, electronic vs paper

Click to enlarge

Results of the pilot have been very informative, and ECFMG has seen significant decreases in the time it takes to receive verifications from medical schools, as illustrated in the chart above. After completion of the pilot, ECFMG will invite additional medical schools to participate in this revolutionary electronic process.

Take Advantage of ECFMG's Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP)

ECFMG offers a number of free on-line services exclusively for medical schools through EMSWP. Schools with EMSWP accounts can verify the status of their students/graduates who apply to ECFMG for USMLE; access data on the USMLE performance of their students/graduates; and upload and track supporting documents on behalf of their students/graduates who participate in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).

In June, ECFMG will open EMSWP for the ERAS 2013 season. EMSWP ERAS allows medical schools to upload medical student performance evaluations (MSPEs), medical school transcripts, and letters of recommendation (LoRs) through a secure site; track receipt of ERAS supporting documents received by ECFMG; and verify the ERAS registration activity of students/graduates. By using EMSWP ERAS, medical schools save on the costs of mailing or couriering these documents to ECFMG and reduce the turnaround time ECFMG requires to process documents. Additionally, each medical school has a designated ERAS Advisor who will assist medical school officials with any issues related to uploading ERAS documents through EMSWP and who will perform quality assurance checks on each ERAS document uploaded through EMSWP.

To access EMSWP, a medical school must have an authorized user account. For information on how your school can establish an EMSWP account, e-mail the ECFMG EMSWP Administrator at For specific information about EMSWP ERAS, contact the EMSWP ERAS Administrator at

Selected Publications on Accreditation of Medical Schools

The following publications on the accreditation of international medical schools were authored by FAIMER and ECFMG staff, and collaborators:

van Zanten M, Boulet JR, Greaves I. The importance of medical education accreditation standards. Medical Teacher. 2012;34(2):136-145.

van Zanten M, Boulet JR, Simon FA. Flexner's global influence: medical education accreditation in countries that train physicians who pursue residency in the United States. Academic Medicine. 2010;85(2):324-332.

van Zanten M, Parkins LM, Karle H, Hallock JA. Accreditation of undergraduate medical education in the Caribbean: report on the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). Academic Medicine. 2009;84(6):771-775.

van Zanten M, Norcini JJ, Boulet JR, Simon F. Overview of accreditation of undergraduate medical education programmes worldwide. Medical Education. 2008;42(9):930-937.

New from ECFMG

The 9,791 medical school graduates certified by ECFMG in 2011 represent 1,078 medical schools in 135 countries and territories. Details and other data are available in ECFMG's 2011 Annual Report (PDF), just released via the ECFMG website. The report provides information on ECFMG's programs, services, and initiatives, as well as a profile of applicants for ECFMG Certification, including data on country of citizenship, country of medical school, and exam performance.

The ECFMG 2012 Fact Card (PDF) is now available and provides summary annual data on international medical students/graduates pursuing ECFMG Certification, J-1 visa sponsorship, and first-year residency positions in the United States.

These and other ECFMG publications are available in the Resources section of the ECFMG website.

2012 Match

The Advance Data Tables (PDF) for the 2012 Main Residency Match are available from the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).

Read ECFMG's announcement on IMG Performance in the 2012 Match.

ERAS 2013 Updates

Date change for ERAS 2013: Medical student performance evaluations (MSPEs) will be released to U.S. residency programs on October 1, 2012, one month earlier than last year.

Introduction to EMSWP ERAS webinar: If you're interested in learning more about EMSWP ERAS and how it works, join us for a free webinar scheduled for May 24, 2012 at 8:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. (Eastern Time in the United States). Please contact the EMSWP ERAS Administrator at for details.

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