Availability of ECFMG’s 2020 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and Application Materials

ECFMG’s 2020 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and the 2020 exam application materials are expected to be available on the ECFMG website in late August 2019. The ECFMG Information Booklet is the definitive source of information on ECFMG Certification and is required reading for applicants.

For the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) Step 1/Step 2 CK, you can use the 2020 materials to apply for:

  • available USMLE Step 1/Step 2 CK eligibility periods ending in 2019 (September 2019-November 2019 and October 2019-December 2019) and
  • all USMLE Step 1/Step 2 CK eligibility periods ending in 2020, beginning with the November 2019-January 2020 eligibility period.

For USMLE Step 2 CS, you can use the 2020 materials to obtain a 12-month eligibility period that begins on the date that the processing of your application is completed. You will be notified once ECFMG has processed your application.

Please monitor the ECFMG website, and follow ECFMG on Facebook and Twitter, for updates and important information.

New Case Studies Offer Actionable Insights to Reduce Clinician Burnout and Improve Well-Being

Clinicians of all kinds, across all specialties and care settings, are experiencing alarming rates of burnout. New case studies from the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience provide an overview of initiatives that reduce clinician burnout and support clinician well-being at organizations across the country.

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) is a member of the NAM Action Collaborative. Every year, ECFMG sponsors more than 11,000 foreign national physicians in J-1 visa status to participate in U.S. clinical training programs. These residents and fellows face the stresses of living and working in a foreign country in addition to the significant demands of their training programs. ECFMG and its Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP) are refining several initiatives to support these physicians and meet their unique needs.

“Our mission at ECFMG/FAIMER is to advance medical education and help improve health care worldwide,” said Dr. William W. Pinsky, President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of FAIMER. “These case studies are important examples of how we can attend to the needs of clinicians, so they can attend to the needs of their patients.”

The NAM hopes that each case study serves as an idea-generating resource for leaders to implement programs and policies at their own organizations that address systemic factors that contribute to clinician burnout. Each case study is designed to help readers more fully understand the successes that organizations have had in implementing well-being programs.

Ohio State University Case Study

At Ohio State University, initiatives to address burnout and promote the well-being of medical, nursing, and health sciences students, trainees, and practicing clinicians are supported by the highest levels of leadership, including the university president. This case study explores the central coordination and alignment of well-being initiatives that span the university, as well as focused examples of programs and policies within the College of Nursing, College of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine Residency Program, and the Wexner Medical Center. The Ohio State University case study also explores the role of the University Chief Wellness Officer in advancing the professional fulfillment and well-being of the entire university community. Ohio State calculates a cumulative productivity net savings of over $15 million from wellness programming as well as a $3.65 return-on-investment for every dollar invested in wellness. Additional impact includes decreased anxiety, depression, stress, and suicidal intent among students, faculty, and staff as well as increased academic performance and levels of healthy lifestyle behaviors. University Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Bernadette Melnyk notes, “Leaders, faculty, and managers must ‘walk the talk’ and provide needed wellness resources as well as support for ‘grassroots’ initiatives. The return on and value of investment—including faculty, staff, and students who are happy, healthy, and engaged—will be well worth it.”

Virginia Mason Kirkland Medical Center Case Study

The Virginia Mason Kirkland Medical Center, an outpatient clinic located outside of Seattle in Kirkland, WA, utilizes an innovative, system-wide management method to improve patient care and safety by eliminating waste and inefficiencies. This management method is used to streamline repetitive aspects of care delivery, standardize clinical roles, and engage in continuous learning activities. Two pillars play a central role in improving wellbeing at the medical center: (1) Workflow optimization and (2) Promoting a culture of collegiality, respect, and innovation. Kirkland Medical Center relies heavily on the integration of clinical pharmacists into the care team to free up time for physicians, physician assistants, and advanced registered nurse practitioners to see patients with more complex conditions. Medical assistants help reduce clinician workload and manage administrative tasks, such as confirming patient medications, processing orders, and replying to patient portal messages. Mandatory “pauses” after every 3-5 patient visits allow clinicians to address documentation needs throughout the day, ensuring that all clinicians can leave for home within one hour of seeing their last patient. Surveys from the medical center show that 90% of Kirkland Medical Center’s non-clinician staff and 93% of clinicians are “content” or “engaged.”

The development of each case study was informed by expert interviews with professionals from each organization. The NAM conducted preliminary interviews, in-person site visits, extensive follow-up interviews, and document review for each case study. Additional case studies are forthcoming.

Read the full case studies: nam.edu/clinicianwellbeing/case-studies.

For questions, please contact the National Academy of Medicine at ClinicianWellBeing@nas.edu.

New 2023 Accreditation Section of ECFMG Website

2023 Medical School Accreditation logo

ECFMG has launched a new section of its website dedicated to the 2023 Medical School Accreditation Requirement for ECFMG Certification. Featured in this section are new eligibility guidelines that provide more detail on how the requirement will impact individuals applying to ECFMG for ECFMG Certification and the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) leading up to 2023 and after. We encourage applicants, medical school officials, and medical regulatory authorities to visit the new 2023 website section and to check back periodically for updates.

IMGs Continue to Show Gains in 2019 Match

Growth in Primary-care Specialties Offers Enhanced Opportunities

International medical graduates (IMGs) showed strong performance in the 2019 Main Residency Match®, according to results published today by the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®). The NRMP Match determines where medical school graduates will enter residency (medical specialty) training each year in the United States.

While the overall number of IMGs participating in the Match declined by 193 compared to last year, their success rate in obtaining first-year residency positions was 58.8%, up from 56.5% last year.

Among U.S. citizen IMGs, 2,997 (59.0%) matched to first-year residency positions, an increase of 97 over last year. The number of U.S. citizen IMGs matching to first-year positions has increased in 14 of the last 16 years. For non-U.S. citizens, 4,028 (58.6%) matched, an increase of 66 positions. This is the eighth annual increase in the number of non-U.S. citizen IMGs who matched. For both groups, these are the highest match rates in more than 25 years.

Today’s results show 17 consecutive years of growth in the number of first-year residency positions offered through the Match. In the 2019 Match, 32,194 first-year positions were offered, an increase of 1,962 (6.5%) compared to 2018 and a cumulative increase of more than 11,500 positions since 2002. As noted by the NRMP, this year’s increase in positions is due, in part, to the increased number of osteopathic programs that joined the Match as a result of the ongoing transition to a single accreditation system for U.S. graduate medical education (GME) programs.

“The strong performance of IMGs in today’s Match is a win for our nation’s GME and health care systems,” said ECFMG President & CEO William W. Pinsky, M.D. “The growth of positions in specialties such as Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry, and the increasing success of IMGs in matching to these specialties, represent continued opportunities for the talented and qualified international physicians who are interested in training in the United States.”

An infographic on IMG performance in the 2019 Match can be found here.

About IMGs in U.S. Health Care

IMGs, physicians who received their medical education from medical schools outside the United States and Canada, comprise one-quarter of physicians in training and practice in the United States. IMGs are essential to the U.S. GME and health care systems, ensuring that our physician workforce is adequate to care for patients. IMGs frequently specialize in primary care, practice in medically underserved areas, and add much-needed diversity to our physician workforce.

Fee Increases for 2019

Effective January 1, 2019, fees for the following ECFMG applications/service requests will increase:

  • The fee for Application for ECFMG Certification will be $135.
  • The examination fees for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) will be $940 for each exam registration.
  • The examination fee for Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) will be $1,580 for each exam registration.
  • The fee for an extension of eligibility period for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK will be $80.
  • The fee for a change of testing region for USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK will be $75.
  • The fee for rescheduling a Step 2 CS testing appointment will be 0-$1,290 (depending on date of cancellation).
  • The fee for a Certification Verification Service (CVS) request will be $50.
  • The fee for an application for J-1 visa sponsorship will be $340.

The new fees will be assessed for all applications/requests submitted to ECFMG on or after January 1, 2019 (Eastern Time in the United States).

For more information on the fees associated with applying for ECFMG Certification and for USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS, refer to the ECFMG 2019 Information Booklet and the Fees page of the ECFMG website.

Fee for Using NotaryCam to Complete Certification of Identification Form (Form 186)

As previously announced, effective September 13, 2018, ECFMG began requiring that the Certification of Identification Form (Form 186) be completed on-line using NotaryCam.com. If you submit an Application for ECFMG Certification on or after September 13, 2018, the fee for using the NotaryCam service is included in the fee for Application for ECFMG Certification. You will not need to make a payment to NotaryCam at the time of your notary session.

If you submitted an Application for ECFMG Certification prior to September 13, 2018, the fee for using NotaryCam was not included in the fee you paid for the Application for ECFMG Certification. If you submitted your Application for ECFMG Certification prior to that date and need to complete Form 186, you will be required to pay the notarization fee directly to NotaryCam at the time of your on-line session. NotaryCam accepts all major credit cards and PayPal.

ECFMG has provided information to NotaryCam that will allow the notary to determine whether an applicant is responsible for payment at the time of service. Once payment has been made, the notary will submit your notarized Form 186 directly to ECFMG.

New Enhancement to ECFMG Certification of Identity Process for Applicants

Verifying your identity for the purpose of ECFMG Certification is now more convenient and accessible. Effective September 13, 2018, ECFMG began requiring that the Certification of Identification Form (Form 186) be completed on-line using NotaryCam.com. NotaryCam provides convenient, on-line access to professionally licensed and certified U.S. notaries. Both on-demand and scheduled NotaryCam sessions are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The fee for using the NotaryCam service is included in the fee for Application for ECFMG Certification. If you have questions about how NotaryCam works, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page of their website.

Applicants for ECFMG Certification will complete the Certification of Identification Form (Form 186) as part of their Application for ECFMG Certification, which is completed before applicants can submit an application for the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®). Detailed instructions and information on how to complete Form 186 using NotaryCam are provided as part of the Application for ECFMG Certification.

If you already have a valid Certificate of Identification Form (Form 186) on file, it will remain valid for five years from the date it was accepted. If your Certification of Identification Form (Form 186) expires or becomes invalid for any reason, you will be required to complete a new form using NotaryCam. A Certification of Identification Form (Form 186) completed and notarized by NotaryCam typically will be valid indefinitely.

IMPORTANT NOTE: ECFMG continues to request/require student or graduate status verification for all international medical students and graduates who apply to ECFMG for a USMLE exam, directly from their medical school. Status verification will be completed with medical schools either electronically through the Status Verification program of the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP) or via a paper Certification Statement (Form 183) for those students and graduates whose medical schools do not participate in the electronic program. If you need a Certification Statement (Form 183) it will be presented to you at the end of the on-line USMLE application.

(posted August 24, 2018, updated September 17, 2018)

2019 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and Application Materials Now Available

ECFMG’s 2019 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and the 2019 exam application materials are now available on the ECFMG website.

For Step 1/Step 2 CK, you can use the 2019 materials to apply for:

  • available Step 1/Step 2 CK eligibility periods ending in 2018 (September 2018-November 2018 and October 2018-December 2018) and
  • all Step 1/Step 2 CK eligibility periods ending in 2019, beginning with the November 2018-January 2019 eligibility period.

For Step 2 CS, you can use the 2019 materials to obtain a 12-month eligibility period that begins on the date that the processing of your application is completed.

Please monitor the ECFMG website, and follow ECFMG on Facebook and Twitter, for updates and important information.

(posted August 9, 2018, updated September 14, 2018)

ECFMG Statement on Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Visa Restrictions in Presidential Proclamation

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision to uphold the visa restrictions in the Presidential Proclamation issued in September of last year. While the Court’s decision does not change the visa restrictions currently in force, it does represent the latest in a series of immigration developments that are shaping the environment in the United States, the environment that many from around the world, including talented health care professionals, aspire to join.

The Court’s decision comes just days before the traditional start of the academic year for U.S. programs of graduate medical education—those medical specialty and subspecialty training programs that transform medical school graduates into practicing physicians. Each year, thousands of foreign national physicians are selected for such training programs, and their qualifications are vetted thoroughly by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. These physicians provide much-needed health care services, enrich the clinical learning environment with their international perspectives, and add diversity to the U.S. physician workforce.

In the United States, where one-quarter of our physicians have received their medical degree outside the United States and Canada, the ability to provide accessible, high-quality health care depends on our ability to continue to attract highly qualified physicians from around the world. Anything that disrupts the flow of these talented and qualified professionals into the United States will have a negative and potentially long-term impact on patient care.

We urge immigration policymakers to consider the many contributions that foreign national physicians make to our health care system and our economy, and to ensure that United States remains an attractive option for the best and brightest minds from around the world.

MyECFMG Mobile App Update Offers New Features for ERAS Applicants

ECFMG is pleased to announce that an update is now available for the MyECFMG mobile app. This update offers new features for users who are participating in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®). Eligible*, registered ERAS residency applicants can now use their smartphone’s camera to scan and upload their Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), medical school transcript, photograph, and Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter (PTAL) via the app. Or, if applicants already have the document saved in a cloud-based personal storage location (such as OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, etc.), they can access the file there and upload it through the MyECFMG mobile app. The app also features push notifications that are sent if an applicant has not uploaded a required document. To learn more about supporting documents for an ERAS application, please visit ERAS Support Services for Applicants.

*Please note: If you are a student or graduate of a medical school that participates in ECFMG’s EMSWP ERAS program, you are not eligible to upload MSPEs or medical school transcripts through MyECFMG. You will need to contact the Dean’s Office at your medical school to request that your school upload the document on your behalf.

For more information on login requirements for the MyECFMG mobile app, what you can do with the app, and a link to download it for free to your smartphone or tablet, visit http://www.ecfmg.org/resources/myecfmg-mobile-app.html.

If you are using MyECFMG, please use the app’s Feedback function to let us know what you think of it! We welcome your input to help us improve MyECFMG.

(Posted May 14, 2018; updated June 1, 2018)