ECFMG and FAIMER Establish Office of General Counsel

Francine Halushka Katz, Esq., Joins ECFMG and FAIMER in New Role

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) have established an Office of General Counsel. Francine Halushka Katz, Esq., has joined ECFMG and FAIMER in this new role, also serving as Senior Vice President and a member of the organizations’ executive team.

According to ECFMG President and FAIMER Board Chair William W. Pinsky, MD FAAP FACC, the organizations are engaged in a strategic expansion of the services they provide to global communities of physicians, patients, medical educators, medical regulators, and researchers. He said the General Counsel will facilitate that strategic growth by supporting diverse activities including contracts and collaborations, policy development, investigation and notification of fraudulent activity, and the development and stewardship of the organizations’ data and information resources.

“The General Counsel is a critical component of advancing our mission to improve world health,” said Dr. Pinsky. “The addition of Ms. Katz as in-house counsel and a member of our leadership team has strengthened our ability to provide leadership, enhance service to constituencies, and protect the public.”

Ms. Katz, a resident of Huntingdon Valley, PA, has extensive experience in the health care and life sciences sectors in both non-profit and for-profit environments. Before joining ECFMG in March 2018, she served as Vice President and General Counsel at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, and later at St. Joseph’s Healthcare System in Paterson, NJ. She has also served as Senior Attorney with Axiom Law—Life Sciences Group, NY and has consulted for RWJ Barnabas Health, New Jersey’s largest health care system. She earned her Juris Doctor degree, with a concentration in Health Law, from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida. She is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the Association of Corporate Counsel and is engaged in a number of civic and community service activities.

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’s Perspective on Immigration Developments Published in Modern Healthcare

International medical graduates (IMGs) are essential to the U.S. health care system. In the September 10 issue of Modern Healthcare, ECFMG President and CEO, William W. Pinsky, MD, shares ECFMG’s perspective that restrictions on immigration for physicians could have unintended negative consequences on the delivery of quality health care in the United States.

“Immigration is directly connected to the physician shortage because meeting the health care needs of our population would be impossible without the continued contributions of doctors educated abroad,” he writes.

Read the full article.

Incomplete USMLE Exam Applications in IWA Will Be Deleted on September 12

As part of the transition to the ECFMG 2019 Information Booklet and exam application materials, any USMLE exam applications that have been saved but not submitted via ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA) will be deleted. If you have a saved exam application in IWA, you must complete and submit the application, including payment, by 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time in the United States, on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. If you have begun but not yet submitted the on-line part of an exam application when IWA becomes unavailable on September 12, your incomplete application will be deleted. If your application is deleted, you will be required to begin a new application in order to apply for examination.

ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA) Unavailable September 12-13

Due to required maintenance, ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA) will be unavailable for up to 24 hours, beginning at approximately 6:00 p.m., Eastern Time in the United States, on September 12, 2018.

During this maintenance period, you will be unable to perform any IWA transactions, including working on or submitting an Application for ECFMG Certification or USMLE exam application; accessing a USMLE scheduling permit; or requesting an extension of a USMLE Step 1 or Step 2 CK eligibility period.

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

Dr. Pinsky Pens Opinion Piece on Impact of Travel Restrictions for STAT News

ECFMG President and CEO, William W. Pinsky, MD, recently wrote an opinion piece for STAT News on the U.S. health care ramifications of the Trump administration’s travel restrictions. “Millions of Americans, particularly those in underserved communities, depend on foreign doctors, thousands of whom hail from countries affected by the restrictions,” he says. Read the full article here.

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.