News

ECFMG/FAIMER Convenes Stakeholders to Discuss Impact of Hahnemann University Hospital Closure

The Boards of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) held a biannual Stakeholder Engagement Forum on Friday. The Forum explored the impact of the closure of Philadelphia-based Hahnemann University Hospital, which occurred earlier this year and was the largest permanent displacement of medical trainees in U.S. history.

Doctor holding sign that reads "Closed"The closure of Hahnemann displaced about 570 medical residents and fellows, including 55 international physicians sponsored by ECFMG to train on J-1 visas. According to Dr. William W. Pinsky, President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of FAIMER, several of the organizations represented at the Stakeholder Engagement Forum joined in a coordinated effort to assist the displaced trainees.

“The closing of Hahnemann University Hospital had a significant impact on the city of Philadelphia, especially its patients. It also was a wake-up call for our nation,” Dr. Pinsky said. “Given the economics of health care in the United States, such incidents are likely to happen again. By engaging with other leading organizations like those represented here today, we will be better prepared to coordinate efforts to protect the interests of patients and the physicians in training who are a vital part of our physician workforce.”

Forum participants included John Andrews, M.D., Vice President, GME Innovation, American Medical Association; David Johnson, Chief Assessment Officer, Federation of State Medical Boards; David Kountz, M.D., Board of Directors, Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers; John Prescott, M.D., Chief Academic Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges; and Kevin Weiss, M.D., MPH, Chief Sponsoring Institutions and Clinical Learning Environment Officer, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. They joined ECFMG/FAIMER Trustees for the half-day session.

Held twice annually in Philadelphia, the Stakeholder Engagement Forums offer the opportunity for industry thought leaders to share perspectives on emerging trends and pressing issues and to strengthen partnerships among organizations involved in medical education and health care worldwide.

USMLE Review Focuses on Patient Individuality

Mitigating bias and eliminating unjustified patient stereotypes are important initiatives in teaching, learning and assessment. Concerns about bias have been raised in the academic literature, the media, among students and faculty at schools of medicine, and by patients.

The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program remains cognizant of these topics. Characteristics of a patient such as age, sex, gender identity, and occupation are sometimes mentioned within the case vignettes in test items. Some patient characteristics may be important inputs into the diagnostic reasoning process. Others may lead to incorrect conclusions and misdiagnoses. Among the latter are characteristics associated with harmful patient stereotypes.

The USMLE program treats race as a social construct not linked to biology or susceptibility to disease. This is similarly true of ethnicity and “culture” or heritage. Ancestry, if known, may be biologically important, and thus may be relevant to factors relating to health and disease. In addition, when and if these characteristics are to be considered they should be considered on the basis of patient self-report, not the assumption of a health care provider. The USMLE program views patients as individuals, just as medical practice should and does.

Examinees should refer to the full announcement on the USMLE website.

USMLE Score Reporting Schedule

Scores for all United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step examinations will be released as regularly scheduled on Wednesday, December 18, 2019. Scores for all USMLE Step examinations will also be released on Tuesday, December 24, 2019.

Only Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) score reports will be released on Tuesday, December 31, 2019.

All USMLE scores will be released as regularly scheduled on Wednesday, January 8, 2020.

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website for the latest information.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable November 16-17

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 16, 2019. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 17, 2019. 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
    • 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.

USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK Content Changes Scheduled for Mid-2020

Beginning in mid-2020, the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) examinations will include an increased number of questions assessing communication skills, system-based practice and patient safety, and legal/ethical skills and professionalism. The length of the testing days for Step 1 and Step 2 CK will not change.

Decisions about the balance of content on USMLE examinations are the responsibility of two groups: the USMLE Composite Committee and USMLE Management Committee. Both are composed of educators, practicing physicians, members with experience on state medical licensure boards, and public members. These committees approved the increase in the number of test items assessing the important competencies listed above.

Timetable:

  • Beginning in May 2020, Step 1 will include additional questions assessing communication skills.
  • Beginning in June/July 2020, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge will include additional questions on systems-based practice, patient safety, legal/ethical issues, and professionalism.
  • No changes to the Step 3 examination are planned during this timeframe.

Sample test items illustrating assessment of communications skills, systems-based practice and patient safety, and legal/ethical skills and professionalism are provided in the Step 1 Content Description and General Information booklet (pp. 7-11) and in the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge Content Description and General Information booklet (pp. 8-11).

The practice materials available on USMLE.org will be updated in early 2020 to reflect these changes in the distribution of exam content across content categories on Step 1 and Step 2 CK.

Dr. Pinsky Conducts National Media Tour with Renowned Forensic Pathologist

ECFMG President and CEO William W. Pinsky, M.D., on October 24 joined Bennet Omalu, M.D., the Nigerian-born forensic pathologist who was the subject of the 2015 film Concussion, for a television and radio tour of cities nationwide to talk about the importance of international medical graduates (IMGs) to health care in the United States.

William W. Pinsky & Bennet Omalu

From a studio in New York City, Drs. Pinsky and Omalu did 24 interviews via satellite with television and radio stations in 19 cities in 17 different states, including such large-market cities as Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, St. Louis, and Tampa.

During the interviews, Dr. Omalu talked about his path from medical school in Nigeria to being one of the eminent forensic pathologists in the United States. Dr. Pinsky discussed the important contributions that physicians, such as Dr. Omalu, make to health care in the nation.

Dr. Omalu identified and named the disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), which results from repeated concussions suffered by athletes, including football players. He is the President and Medical Director of Bennet Omalu Pathology and author of the memoir Truth Doesn’t Have a Side, which was published in 2017 by Zondervan, HarperCollins.

The television and radio tour was part of Strategic Initiative 9 of the ECFMG/FAIMER strategic plan to be a thought leader and to serve as an active advocate for IMGs. In recent months, the Communications Department paired Dr. Pinsky with several IMGs to talk about the important contributions they make to U.S. health care, especially amidst a growing national physician shortage.

Dr. Pinsky did a video interview and opinion pieces in cardiology trade publications with Mandeep R. Mehra, M.D., a renowned cardiologist and medical director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Vascular Center; a widely published press release with Archana Chatterjee, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease specialist in South Dakota; and a radio media tour with Beatriz Wills, M.D. of Colombia, an internist at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

The television and radio tour with Dr. Omalu included interviews with the following media outlets (links to available interviews are included below):

  • KCTU, Wichita-Hutchinson, KS
  • KETV, Omaha, NE
  • KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa, OK
  • WYRQ-FM, Minneapolis, MN
  • Daybreak USA, IRN/USA Radio
  • Health Professional Radio
  • WXGM-FM, Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA
  • KTXA, Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
  • WALA, Mobile-Pensacola, FL
  • WTWO, Terre Haute, IN
  • WHIG, Raleigh, NC
  • Spectrum News 13, Orlando, FL
  • KPLR, St. Louis, MO
  • KFKA-AM, Denver, CO (interview begins at 8:18)
  • WISR-AM, Pittsburgh, PA
  • News Around America
  • SNN 6, Tampa, FL
  • WKUL-FM, Birmingham, AL
  • Park City TV, Salt Lake City, UT
  • CONN TV
  • WFIF-AM, Hartford-New Haven, CT
  • Mississippi Hometown, Jackson, MS
  • Louisiana Hometown, New Orleans, LA
  • Sports Byline USA

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable October 18-20

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 8:00 p.m. on Friday, October 18, 2019. Services are expected to be restored by 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 20, 2019. 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
    • 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.

ECFMG’s IWA Unavailable October 16

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA) will be unavailable beginning at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. Services are expected to be restored by 8:00 p.m. on the same day. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

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