News

ECFMG Statement on USMLE Policy Changes

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program has announced three future changes to its examination program. One of these changes, a change in score reporting for Step 1 from a numeric score to a Pass/Fail designation, is designed to improve the transition of examinees from undergraduate medical education (UME) to graduate medical education (GME) programs (i.e., to residency programs). Two additional changes, a further limit on the number of times an examinee can take each Step or Step Component and the requirement that an examinee pass Step 1 before taking Step 2 Clinical Skills, will help to enhance exam security. Enhancing security is essential to maintaining the integrity of the examination, ensuring it remains an equitable assessment process for all examinees.

These changes are part of the USMLE program’s continuous process of improvement to ensure a high-quality assessment for all physicians who plan to train and practice in the United States. ECFMG is supportive of this process and of the thoughtful and inclusive approach employed by the USMLE program in arriving at these changes. ECFMG also supports the USMLE’s focus on the examinee experience and the goal of improving the transition from UME to GME—a transition that can present unique challenges for international medical graduates (IMGs) who seek to train in the United States.

ECFMG is a strong advocate for the role of IMGs in the U.S. health care system. IMGs comprise approximately 25% of the U.S. physician workforce and are vital to our ability to provide accessible, high-quality health care. Many IMGs who train in the United States stay to practice, frequently serving in primary-care specialties and in underserved areas. Others return home, where they benefit local communities by building physician capacity and providing care in much-needed specialties.

ECFMG is committed to the continued ability of IMGs to enter U.S. GME and offers programs that support IMGs along the continuum from international UME to U.S. GME and practice. ECFMG Certification is at the beginning of this pathway. The USMLE is an important component of ECFMG’s program of certification, the process by which IMGs demonstrate their readiness to engage in U.S. GME. An effective, high-quality assessment is essential for IMGs who wish to demonstrate their qualifications; compete for U.S. residency positions; and continue to contribute to the U.S. health care system through their talents, diversity, and international perspectives.

For more information on the upcoming changes, please read the USMLE program’s announcement at https://usmle.org/announcements/?ContentId=263. As more information on these changes becomes available, please monitor the ECFMG website for details on how these changes will affect IMGs who pursue ECFMG Certification and U.S. GME.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable February 14-16

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 14, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 16, 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
  • Step 2 CS Calendar and Scheduling
  • 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
    • GEMxSMfor 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.

Latest on 2023 Accreditation Requirement Published in Journal of Medical Regulation

JMR logoWant to know more about the 2023 Medical School Accreditation Requirement for ECFMG Certification, including how and why the requirement was developed, its current status, and what’s to come? The February 2020 issue of the Journal of Medical Regulation  features an article that answers these questions, titled, “Advancing the Quality of Medical Education Worldwide: ECFMG’s 2023 Medical School Accreditation Requirement.”

Christine Shiffer, Regulatory Affairs Manager for ECFMG|FAIMER, penned the article with colleagues Dr. Jack Boulet, Vice President for Research and Data Resources; Lisa Cover, Senior Vice President for Business Development and Operations; and Dr. William W. Pinsky, President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of FAIMER. The article provides an overview of the requirement’s history, rationale, progress, and future outlook.

For more about the requirement, be sure to visit the 2023 Accreditation section of our website at www.ecfmg.org/accreditation. The section includes the requirement’s eligibility guidelines and implementation plan, as well as a one-page overview in 11 languages. Inquiries about the requirement can be sent to 2023@ecfmg.org.

(posted February 7, updated February 10)

New Travel Restrictions Will Not Impact Visa Classifications Commonly Used for U.S. Graduate Medical Education (GME)

On January 31, 2020, President Donald Trump issued his “Proclamation on Improving Enhanced Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry.”  Non-immigrant visa classifications, such as the J-1 and H-1B, are NOT impacted by the new restrictions.  Therefore, there should be no impact on individuals seeking non-immigrant visas to participate in U.S. GME.

Additional information is available on the Resources on Presidential Proclamations web page.

Potential Impact of Coronavirus on USMLE Examination Administrations

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program continues to monitor the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and is prepared to take appropriate measures as warranted to protect the health and safety of examinees and the public.

Whenever an examinee has a scheduled testing appointment, it is important to monitor the impact of illness, weather, or other conditions on USMLE administrations by going to the Prometric website (for Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 exams) and the CSEC website (for Step 2 Clinical Skills exams) for updates. Test centers may close at any time.

If you have been impacted by a test center closure related to the corona virus and need assistance with rescheduling your examination, please contact your registration entity.

It is also always important to monitor your own health. If you do not feel well on the day of your test, we strongly encourage you to reschedule your examination. If you become ill while taking any USMLE exam, inform a proctor promptly.

Please check the USMLE website for updates on the potential impact of coronavirus on USMLE administrations.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable January 17-19

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Friday, January 17, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 19, 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
  • Step 2 CS Calendar and Scheduling
  • 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
    • GEMxSMfor 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.

Step 1 – Delay in Score Reporting

If you need to receive United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1 scores before July 8, 2020 it is recommended that you take the exam no later than May 3, 2020.

Most Step 1 scores are reported within four weeks of testing. However, because of necessary annual modifications to the test item pool, there will be a delay in reporting for some examinees who test beginning the week of May 4, 2020.

The target date for reporting Step 1 scores for most examinees testing the week of May 4, 2020 through mid-June will be Wednesday, July 8, 2020. For examinees whose circumstances require that they receive Step 1 scores before July 8, 2020, it is recommended that they take Step 1 no later than May 3, 2020.

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website for the latest information.

ECFMG/FAIMER Boards Elect New Trustees

The Boards of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) elected six new trustees at their final meeting of the year on December 5. ECFMG/FAIMER trustees serve at-large, and five of the new trustees will serve four-year terms.

As part of the election, ECFMG/FAIMER established a new trustee position reserved for a U.S. resident or fellow who is an international medical graduate (IMG). A sixth new trustee was elected to this position, which is a voting member of the Boards with a two-year term.

“We are very pleased to welcome these six accomplished individuals to our Boards,” said William W. Pinsky, M.D., President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of FAIMER. Andrew T. Filak Jr., M.D., Chair of the ECFMG Board of Trustees, continued: “They all bring significant skills and experience to the stewardship of ECFMG/FAIMER as we explore new pathways to improve health care and medical education worldwide. The addition of the IMG resident/fellow perspective to our governance will be invaluable to enhancing our service to IMGs and their U.S. training programs.”

The new trustees are:

Cheryll Albold, Ph.D., MS. Ed.
Dr. Albold is an Assistant Professor of Medical Education at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and the Designated Institutional Administrator for the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education. In partnership with the Designated Institutional Official, she provides leadership and oversight for sponsoring institution and program accreditation activities governing over 300 residency and fellowship programs that enroll more than 1,800 trainees at campuses in Minnesota, Arizona, Florida, and the Mayo Clinic Health System. She has over 25 years of professional experience in a wide variety of education settings. Dr. Albold received both a Ph.D. degree in educational studies (higher education) and a certificate in educational research, measurement, and evaluation from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a master’s degree in counseling and student professional services from Fordham University.

Donald Craig Brater, M.D.
Dr. Brater is the Vice President of Programs at the Walther Cancer Foundation and President of the Regenstrief Foundation, both of which are based in Indianapolis. He served as the ninth dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine for 13 years before retiring from that position in 2013, at which time he was presented with the university’s highest honor, The University Medal, for his visionary leadership. He serves as a board member of BioCrossroads and is President of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine. He also served on the Editorial Board for the American Journal of Medicine and served on the National Institutes of Health National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Dr. Brater received a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry and a Doctor of Medicine from Duke University.

Anne Marie Irani, M.D.
Dr. Irani is Emerita Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine in the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Virginia Commonwealth University and a U.S. Medical Expert in the Department of Medical Affairs within the Research and Development Section at GlaxoSmithKline. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee for Allergy and Immunology. She was the Co-Director of the Allergy/Immunology training program at Virginia Commonwealth University for 26 years. She has served on the Editorial Board of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; as an Associate Editor of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; and is the current secretary treasurer for the Board of Directors of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Dr. Irani graduated from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

Prerna Mona Khanna, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Khanna is a triple board-certified medical doctor, Emmy Award-winning multi-platform medical journalist, and an acclaimed humanitarian and disaster volunteer. She is the medical director of a thriving occupational medicine practice in Palm Springs, CA; a visiting clinical associate professor at her alma mater, the University of Illinois; and an affiliate of the Center for Global Health at the university. Her humanitarian work after numerous natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis has brought her overseas aid work to more than 14 countries. Dr. Khanna is a lifelong advocate of patient empowerment through consumer education, and has been recognized for dedicating thousands of hours since her student days in medical school to educating the public through speaking events, television broadcasts, and publications. Dr. Khanna earned her master’s degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, her M.D. degree from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Northwestern University.

John Ogunkeye
John Ogunkeye is Chief Financial and Administrative Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Services for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Before joining ACGME, John held senior leadership positions at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and the University of Chicago Medical Center. In his role at ACGME, John is responsible for managing the organization’s administrative and financial systems as well as oversight of international consultations to governmental agencies in the evaluation and the design of medical education systems. Growing up the son of a diplomat, John lived in many countries, which drove his passion for working in the international arena. John holds Master of Science degrees in biology and health care administration.

Beatriz Wills, M.D. (IMG Resident/Fellow Trustee)
Dr. Wills is a hematology oncology fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. Previously, she was an internal medicine resident in the Osler Internal Medicine Residency Program at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. A resident of Bogota, Colombia, she is studying on a J-1 visa sponsored by ECFMG. Dr. Wills completed medical school at Los Andes University in Colombia. Prior to her residency with Osler, she completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at Johns Hopkins and has several journal publications to her credit. Her initial interest in medicine was influenced by her family, which includes several doctors. She is passionate about immunotherapy and hematologic malignancies, and aspires to become a world leader in oncology and medical education.

The December 5 meeting also was the last for Anne M. Murphy, J.D. and Daniel V. Schidlow, M.D., who are stepping down from the Boards. “I would like to thank Ms. Murphy and Dr. Schidlow for their years of dedication to ECFMG and FAIMER,” Dr. Filak said. “Their experience and expertise have helped lead us through a time of growth and change, and we are grateful for their service.”