News

ECFMG|FAIMER Research Finds Drop in Interest From Muslim-Majority Country Physicians

Applications for ECFMG Certification from citizens of Muslim-majority countries have decreased since 2016 which could exacerbate gaps in the U.S. physician workforce, according to an article co-authored by ECFMG|FAIMER executives and published July 6 in the JAMA Network Open, an on-line publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The article, Prevalence of International Medical Graduates from Muslim-Majority Nations in the U.S. Physician Workforce from 2009 to 2019, was authored by John Boulet, PhD, Vice President for Research and Data Resources for ECFMG|FAIMER; William W. Pinsky, MD, President and CEO of ECFMG|FAIMER; and Robbert J. Duvivier, MD, PhD of the Parnassia Psychiatric Institute in The Hague, Netherlands.

According to the article, citizens from Muslim-majority nations made up 4.5 percent of the U.S. physician workforce in 2019. Applications for ECFMG Certification from citizens of these countries increased from 2009 to 2015 but decreased considerably from 2016 to 2018, especially for citizens of Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

The article has generated significant coverage in the news media internationally, including articles in The Arab Weekly, Arabian Business, Free Malaysia Today, and The Daily Mail to name a few.

USMLE Program Kicks Off Comprehensive Approach to Gather Perspectives on Step 2 CS

To obtain stakeholder input on the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) assessment and how clinical skills would be ideally assessed for licensure in the future, the USMLE program will be contacting a wide group of medical educators, clinicians, patient advocates, examinees, and others over the next 2 weeks to gather insights and expertise regarding performance-based clinical skills assessment.

The information collected will help identify important characteristics of a performance-based exam for national licensure.

Read the full announcement on the USMLE website here, and visit USMLE.org/RevitalizeCS for more information and updates as the initiative progresses.

COVID-19 Update for the USMLE Program

Delayed Change to USMLE Attempt Limit Policy

In February 2020, the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program announced a reduction in the allowable number of exam attempts on each Step or Step Component from six to four that would go into effect no earlier than January 1, 2021. Due to the reduced testing capacity caused by COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the USMLE program is delaying the implementation of this policy change to no earlier than July 1, 2021.

Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) Refunds

Last week, NBME and ECFMG sent e-mails to examinees who were registered to take Step 2 CS and were unable to test due to suspension of the exam. These e-mails included information about the refund process and timeline.

Prometric

As the USMLE program continues its plans to expand USMLE testing, Prometric states that their testing capacity continues to increase as well. Since May 1, more than 21,000 USMLE examinees have tested. For examinees looking to secure a Prometric appointment, please continue to check the Prometric website for updated information, site openings/closings, and available appointments.

Examinees should continue to monitor the USMLE COVID-19 Resource Center, the USMLE website, and USMLE social media for updates.

ECFMG|FAIMER Supports Coalition Recommendations for Fellowship Applicants in 2020-2021

On June 16, the Coalition for Physician Accountability, of which ECFMG|FAIMER is a member, released its report titled Recommendations for Away Rotations and Interviews for Graduate Medical Education Fellowship Applicants During the 2020-2021 Academic Year. The report builds on the Coalition’s work to address aspects of the transition from medical school to residency during COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

ECFMG|FAIMER supports the Coalition’s recommendations for the sub-specialty community, which address away rotations, in-person interviews, and general communications. More information is available in the full report.

The Coalition exemplifies the collaboration required to create the best solutions for all stakeholders impacted by the pandemic. ECFMG|FAIMER looks forward to continuing to join with Coalition members and other partners to find those solutions.

ERAS 2021 Residency Tokens Now Available

Residency Tokens for the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®) 2021 application season are now available through ECFMG’s On-line Applicant Status and Information System (OASIS). You can use a 2021 Token to register at the MyERAS website of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), effective Tuesday, June 23, 2020, and begin work on your residency application.

If you plan to apply for U.S. residency positions that begin in July 2021, visit the ERAS Support Services section of the ECFMG website for important information and instructions on how to obtain an ERAS Token.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to be eligible to participate in the National Resident Matching Program® Main Residency Match®, which will be held in March 2021, IMGs must have a passing performance on the exams required for ECFMG Certification. The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program has suspended Step 2 CS exams for 12-18 months. ECFMG|FAIMER has published preliminary information on how qualified IMGs who have not passed Step 2 CS can meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification. You can learn more on the ECFMG website at https://www.ecfmg.org/certification-requirements-2021-match/.

USMLE Timeline for Step 1 Pass/Fail Score Reporting

The co-sponsors of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®)—the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)―have recently received requests from examinees and student organizations to accelerate or delay the change to pass/fail score reporting for USMLE Step 1 in light of the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and social movements across the country. The USMLE program’s announcement of the Step 1 score reporting policy change, posted in February 2020, said the change in score reporting would be implemented no earlier than January 2022. After careful consideration of all the recent concerns that have been brought to the USMLE program’s attention, the USMLE program remains committed to the January 2022 timeline.

For more information, please read the full announcement on the USMLE website.

Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match

To be certified by ECFMG, international medical graduates (IMGs) have been required to pass Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®). In response to the suspension of Step 2 CS for the next 12-18 months by the USMLE program, we have identified pathways that will allow qualified IMGs who have not passed Step 2 CS to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification. These pathways allow ECFMG Certification to continue to perform its critical function of providing assurance to the public and U.S. graduate medical education (GME) programs that IMGs are ready to enter supervised training.

Please note: Applicants who have passed Step 2 CS and/or are certified by ECFMG do not need to be familiar with these new requirements and do not need to pursue these pathways.

The pathways are directed toward IMGs who intend to enter the 2021 Match. All other eligibility requirements for ECFMG Certification will remain in effect. An application process and instructions for the pathways are currently in development, with further details to be provided very soon. We are providing preliminary information now in order to direct individuals to begin their planning as they seek to enter U.S. GME programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for the 2021-2022 academic year.

For additional information, visit Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match on this website. Additional details will be published as they become available, and modifications to the information are possible. Please monitor this website for the latest information.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable June 19-21

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 19, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, 2020. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

During this maintenance period, you will be unable to access most ECFMG on-line services, including the following:

  • IWA—Interactive Web Applications
  • OASIS—On-line Applicant Status and Information System
  • IAN—IMG Advisors Network
  • EMSWP—ECFMG Medical School Web Portal, and its programs for medical schools and other institutions:
    • Status Verification
    • Credentials Verification
    • Performance Data
    • EMSWP ERAS
    • GEMxSM for Partner Institutions
  • CVS ON-LINE—Certification Verification Service On-line
  • EVNet—Exchange Visitor Network (for staff of U.S. training programs that host ECFMG-sponsored exchange visitor physicians)
  • EPICSM—Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials
    • Physician Portal
    • Report Portal
  • GEMx on-line services for students
  • MyECFMG mobile app

The World Directory of Medical Schools also will be unavailable during this maintenance period.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work to maintain high-quality on-line services.

U.S. and International Prometric Test Centers Are Operating and International Medical Graduates Are Able to Schedule Appointments

Prometric has informed ECFMG that most international test centers are open with testing slots available for United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) examinees. Testing centers in the following areas are planned to open as follows:

  • Next week: Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, Lebanon, and Pakistan
  • Mid to late June: Rest of Europe, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates

There are some countries with governmental mandates preventing testing, including Qatar.

Prometric test centers in the U.S. are open in major markets. Due to the need to follow state and local regulations, some cancelations are still occurring. Testing center capacity is increasing overall as additional hours and days of the week are being added.

Please regularly check the scheduling system to check availability, as test centers are opening on a regular basis. In addition, refer to the Prometric Social Distancing Policies prior to taking the exam.