FAIMER and WFME to Collaborate on Combined Medical School Directory

The Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) and the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) have announced a collaboration to develop a combined directory of the world’s medical schools. According to an agreement signed in March 2012, the organizations will merge their respective directories—FAIMER’s International Medical Education Directory (IMED) and WFME’s Avicenna Directory—to produce a single comprehensive resource on undergraduate medical education worldwide. The new resource, developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the University of Copenhagen, will be known as the World Directory of Medical Schools.

The world’s medical schools number more than 2,500. Collecting and maintaining data on these schools is a large and complex endeavor. The merger of IMED and the Avicenna Directory will combine FAIMER’s and WFME’s existing data sets and streamline their data collection efforts. The new World Directory will include all schools listed in either IMED or the Avicenna Directory. The World Directory listing for schools that meet ECFMG eligibility requirements will be annotated as acceptable for ECFMG Certification.

The new World Directory will offer enhanced information in areas such as enrollment, curricula, and accreditation. The availability of current, high-quality information on undergraduate medical education in the form of a centralized resource will advance research on the quality of medical education and efforts to improve medical education, with the ultimate goal of improving public health.

The World Directory is expected to become available in 2013. During the transition to the World Directory, IMED and the Avicenna Directory will remain open, to ensure that users of these directories have continuity of the essential service that they provide. IMED and Avicenna will close when the World Directory of Medical Schools is fully operational. Updates on the transition to the World Directory will be posted to the FAIMER and ECFMG websites, as they become available.

ECFMG Launches Electronic Verification of Medical Credentials

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), a world expert on international medical schools and the credentials they issue, is pleased to announce the launch of an electronic process for verifying the medical education credentials of international physicians who seek entry into the U.S. health care system.

In January 2012, after more than a year of intensive development, a pilot of ECFMG’s electronic Credentials Verification program was launched with participation from approximately 20 international medical schools. Participating institutions use Credentials Verification to electronically receive and verify the medical education credentials of their students and graduates who apply to ECFMG.

For more than 50 years, through its certification program, ECFMG has assessed whether international medical graduates are ready to enter U.S. graduate medical education programs. As part of this certification program, ECFMG requires international physicians to provide copies of their medical education credentials, specifically medical diplomas and transcripts. Since 1986, ECFMG has verified applicant credentials by mailing copies directly to the issuing institutions. The electronic Credentials Verification program represents a significant advance over the paper primary-source verification process, benefiting medical schools and their students/graduates while maintaining ECFMG’s rigorous standards for primary-source verification.

ECFMG’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel G. Cassimatis, M.D., comments, “ECFMG’s role in verifying the medical education credentials of international physicians is critical to protecting the public. Electronic Credentials Verification revolutionizes the way we perform this vital function.”

Read the press release.

Fee to be Implemented for Application for ECFMG Certification

Effective January 30, 2012, there will be a fee of $50 for submitting an Application for ECFMG Certification. The Application for ECFMG Certification is a requirement for international medical students/graduates pursuing ECFMG Certification. International medical students/graduates must submit an Application for ECFMG Certification before they can apply to ECFMG for examination. Once an Application for ECFMG Certification has been submitted to ECFMG, it typically remains valid throughout the certification process. More information on the Application for ECFMG Certification is available in the ECFMG 2012 Information Booklet.

ECFMG to Require Medical School Accreditation for International Medical School Graduates Seeking Certification Beginning in 2023

In July 2010, ECFMG® determined that, effective in 2023, physicians applying for ECFMG Certification will be required to graduate from a medical school that has been appropriately accredited. To satisfy this requirement, an applicant’s medical school must be accredited through a formal process that uses criteria comparable to those established for U.S. medical schools 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).

View full announcement.

Reminder: Time Limit for Completing Examination Requirements for ECFMG Certification

ECFMG would like to remind applicants that they are required to pass those United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Steps and Step Components required for ECFMG Certification within a seven-year period. This means that once an applicant passes a Step or Step Component, the applicant will have seven years to pass the other Step(s) or Step Component(s) required for ECFMG Certification. (For complete information on the examination requirements for ECFMG Certification, see Examination Requirements in the ECFMG Information Booklet.)

This seven-year period begins on the exam date for the first Step or Step Component passed and ends exactly seven years from this exam date. If an applicant does not pass all required Steps and Step Components within a maximum of seven years, the applicant’s earliest USMLE passing performance will no longer be valid for ECFMG Certification.

EXAMPLE: An applicant took his first Step or Step Component on October 1, 2006 and passed. The applicant has through October 1, 2013 to take and pass all other Step(s) and Step Component(s) required for ECFMG Certification. If he does not take and pass all other required Step(s) and Step Component(s) on or before October 1, 2013, his passing performance on the October 1, 2006 exam would no longer be valid for ECFMG Certification.

This seven-year limit does not apply to the former ECFMG Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) because the CSA was not a USMLE Step or Step Component. Applicants who satisfied the clinical skills requirement for ECFMG Certification by passing the CSA are required to pass only Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) within a seven-year period for ECFMG Certification. For these applicants, the seven-year period begins on the exam date for the first USMLE Step or Step Component passed, regardless of when the CSA was passed.

On June 14, 2004, USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) became a requirement for ECFMG Certification, replacing the ECFMG CSA as the exam that satisfies the clinical skills requirement. As part of the USMLE, Step 2 CS may be subject to the seven-year time limit for ECFMG Certification as described below:

  • If an applicant’s earliest USMLE passing performance that is valid for ECFMG Certification took place on or after June 14, 2004, the applicant is required to pass Step 1, Step 2 CK, and, if required for ECFMG Certification, Step 2 CS within a seven-year period for ECFMG Certification.
  • If an applicant’s earliest USMLE passing performance that is valid for ECFMG Certification took place before June 14, 2004, the applicant is required to pass only Step 1 and Step 2 CK within a seven-year period for ECFMG Certification; if required for ECFMG Certification, Step 2 CS can be passed outside the seven-year period.

The policies outlined above apply only to ECFMG Certification. The USMLE program recommends to U.S. state medical licensing authorities that they require applicants to pass the full USMLE sequence (including Step 3, which is not required for ECFMG Certification) within a seven-year period. See Time Limit and Number of Attempts Allowed to Complete All Steps and Retakes in the USMLE Bulletin of Information.

Many state medical licensing authorities accept the USMLE recommendation, but some do not. You should contact the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, Inc., (FSMB) for general information and the medical licensing authority of the jurisdiction where you plan to apply for licensure for definitive information, since licensure requirements vary among jurisdictions.

Additionally, applicants who retake a previously passed Step or Step Component to comply with a time limit should understand the implications for Step 3 eligibility of a failing attempt on a retake. See Official Performance of Record for Examinees Retaking a Previously Passed Step in the USMLE Bulletin of Information.