ECFMG/FAIMER Awards $180,000 in Grants to Support Global Community Health Projects

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) on Monday announced the award recipients from the 2019 Projects That Work competition. Each of the six projects will receive a $30,000 grant from ECFMG/FAIMER and the opportunity to send a representative to present the project on the world stage.

Launched in 2013, Projects That Work is an annual international competition that shines a spotlight on projects that have had a significant impact on the health of communities and the education of health professionals. This year, for the first time, ECFMG/FAIMER is awarding $180,000 to help recipients expand their work. A representative from each project will present his/her project at the 2019 conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) to be held September 10-13 in Darwin, Australia.

“The projects are an important link between capacity building of health workers and impact on community health,” says William Burdick, MD, FAIMER’s Vice President for Education. “Our Projects That Work competition highlights the teamwork, innovation, and evaluation that characterize the best of these. We are committed to improving world health through education, and these outstanding projects help advance that important mission.”

For this year’s competition, ECFMG/FAIMER received 53 applications from around the world. Applications were reviewed by a distinguished panel of international reviewers with a wide variety of expertise in health professions education.

Attisso Komlan Dabla
Ending Preventable Deaths in Togo is one of six recipients of the 2019 Projects That Work Awards

The 2019 projects and representatives are:

Project: Chamas for Change: An Integrated Maternal and Child Peer Support and Micro-finance Model in Western Kenya
Country: Kenya
Representative: Laura Ruhl

Chamas for Change is a Community Health Volunteer (CHV)-led peer-support model that empowers women with health education and microfinance literacy during pregnancy and throughout their children’s infancy. Women participating in the program are engaged over three years. They join during the antenatal period and continue through the first and second years postpartum. The intervention combines best practices from women’s health groups and microfinance programs to improve maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) outcomes. Currently, nearly 2,000 women participate in 122 chamas (societies), led by 214 CHVs across the participating counties. A pilot study was conducted and showed a very positive impact on MNCH, and they are in the process of conducting a larger-scale validation study.

Project: ECO-SAN
Country: Rwanda
Representative: Ange Seminega

ECO-SAN was formed in May 2015 as a collaboration between the University of Rwanda and Water for People, to construct latrines for 17 selected families and at three schools for the Batwa, a socially marginalized group in Rwanda that face significant discrimination in education, housing, and employment. There is a high rate of diarrhea and pneumonia-related diseases among the Batwa, so this project aims to raise awareness about hygiene and sanitation through school education and monthly community meetings. The ECO-SAN project has taught thousands of community members proper hygiene techniques, how to properly take care of the latrines, and how to build new ones. By the end of the first year there was a sharp decrease in diarrhea and pneumonia-related cases.

Project: Ending Preventable Deaths in Togo
Country: Togo
Representative: Attisso Komlan Désiré Dabla

The Integrate Health program is aimed at raising the standard of emergency maternal care in under-served and rural areas of Togo, where maternal and child (under five) mortality rates are very high and many of these deaths are from diseases that are entirely treatable at very low costs. The program trains, equips, and supervises community health workers to provide home-based care, and trains traditional healers to help identify danger signs and refer sick women and children to appropriate care. It was piloted effectively in three rural communities and one peri-urban community from 2015 to 2018, and preliminary data indicates a 50 percent reduction in child mortality in those pilot communities.

Project: Improving Malawian Pediatric Assessment and Care through Training (IMPACT)
Country: Malawi
Representative: Charles Mulilima

The IMPACT project began in 2014 to fill the need of providing pre-service Emergency Triage, Assessment, and Treatment (ETAT) training to healthcare professionals in Malawi, ensuring effective patient care to even the most isolated regions. Pre-service ETAT training has been implemented at three universities to teach medical and nursing students early identification management of children with emergency conditions. IMPACT is responsible for the training of lecturers and mobilizing resources for student training. The project leaders also offer refresher training sessions for former students and have developed participant and facilitator manuals for pre-service use. With IMPACT, many new physicians are adequately trained in ETAT procedures and have the skills to perform quality in-patient pediatric care to reduce child mortality.

Project: The Mfangano Health Navigation Program
Country: Kenya
Representative: Robinson Okeyo

The Organic Health Response (OHR) and the Ekialo Kiona Center (EKC) developed the Health Navigation Program to sustainably strengthen maternal emergency care in the Mfangano Island region along the shores of Lake Victoria in Western Kenya. Approximately 30,000 people reside in these remote fishing communities, which are a two-hour boat ride from the mainland and have one of the highest maternal mortality rates in East Africa. Since the project began in 2014, OHR-EKC has trained more than 30 Health Navigators who have aided with nearly 550 emergency transfers between island facilities and mainland hospitals, with an average response time of 14.44 minutes. This project developed comprehensive referral protocols for two remote Ministry of Health facilities, has written safe birth plans for more than 310 pregnancies, and has implemented the region’s first 24-hour emergency boat service.

Project: Wax and Gold
Country: Ethiopia
Representative: Suzanne Hally

Wax and Gold, a non-profit, non-governmental organization, worked with the staff at Saint Paul Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa to design a comprehensive program that trains existing hospital staff to provide on-site birthing care, attend all deliveries, and perform newborn stabilization and resuscitation. This Neonatal Advanced Life Support (NALS) team is selected from hospital staff members who have Bachelor of Science degrees and a minimum of two years of bedside patient care experience. Baseline data taken before and after the employment of full-time NALS teams show that neonatal mortality decreased from 3.53 percent to .33 percent, and rate of admission into the newborn intensive care unit decreased from 22.8 percent to 10.4 percent in two years.

Eric Nizeyimana of Rwanda, who originally was selected as a 2018 Projects That Work recipient, also will present at the 2019 Network: TUFH conference. His project is titled Community-Based Malaria Prevention Empowerment.

For more information on the Projects That Work competition, visit www.faimer.org/project-competitions/projects-that-work.html.

Hahnemann Closure: Information on GME Funding for Hahnemann Residents and Fellows

As plans for the closure of Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia unfold, one important issue that must be resolved is the transfer of graduate medical education (GME) funding for physicians in training from Hahnemann to the other hospitals that accept these trainees. Since the issue of funding has received much attention in recent days, ECFMG is sharing the following basic information that may be helpful to Hahnemann residents and fellows as they seek to transition to training programs at other hospitals.

U.S. hospitals are reimbursed for the educational costs of training physicians by the U.S. Government, specifically by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Hospitals are reimbursed by CMS for each resident/fellow that they train, and each hospital is subject to a limit or “cap” on the number of trainees for which it receives reimbursement. Reimbursement for fellows is valued at 50% of the amount for residents.

When a hospital closes and its trainees are displaced, the trainees may continue their training at another hospital. In this case, the hospital that accepts a displaced resident or fellow is eligible to receive the entire CMS reimbursement for his/her position. At this time, Drexel University College of Medicine and Hahnemann University Hospital are negotiating the release of GME funding for Hahnemann’s residents and fellows. Once released, these funds will be available to move with trainees to their new training hospitals.

During these negotiations, Hahnemann residents and fellows should continue to look for positions in other training programs. They also should be aware of the following facts about GME funding for their positions:

  • Funds from CMS for the training of physicians are owned by the training hospital (in this case, Hahnemann), not by any affiliated medical school(s).
  • When a hospital closes and a trainee moves to another hospital, the funding for the trainee’s position moves with the trainee to the new training hospital.
  • When a trainee moves to a new training hospital, the funds that move with the trainee are for all remaining years in the trainee’s program.
  • A hospital is eligible to accept a displaced trainee and to receive his/her funding, even if the hospital is at or over its number of capped positions.

Please monitor this website for updates on this developing situation.

ECFMG Statement on Closure of Hahnemann University Hospital

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is expressing its support for the Hahnemann University Hospital community in light of the announced closure of this long-standing member of the graduate medical education (GME) and health care communities. The closure of this large academic medical center will have broad and significant implications.

As a leader in medical education worldwide, and particularly as part of the Philadelphia community, ECFMG is concerned for Hahnemann’s patients, house staff, physicians, and other employees, as well as the Drexel University medical students who receive clinical education at Hahnemann. We are most concerned for the city of Philadelphia and its many patients who depend on Hahnemann for care.

ECFMG also is the sole J-1 visa sponsor of foreign national physicians to participate in GME at U.S. hospitals. Each year, we sponsor more than 11,000 physicians in J-1 visa status to participate in GME programs across the nation, where they receive medical specialty and subspecialty training and provide supervised patient care. Some of these physicians currently are in training at Hahnemann. Because of the closing of Hahnemann, they must seek other training venues.

Currently, we are focusing our efforts to assist the international physicians in training at Hahnemann under ECFMG J-1 visa sponsorship. ECFMG is reaching out to each of these physicians to provide support and assistance, as they seek to transition to other GME training programs. If they are unable to enter other U.S. training programs, they will need to return to their home countries.

As is the case in cities across our nation, international physicians in training at Hahnemann in Philadelphia make invaluable contributions to our clinical training environments and patient care. The loss of these physicians and their expertise, innovation, and international perspectives would be a loss to us all.

We offer our sincere best wishes to all who are impacted by this unfortunate situation. We look forward to working with national and local partners to help ensure the continued training of the many talented international physicians who have called Hahnemann home.

Please also see the ACGME statement, Hahnemann University Hospital Closure.

InCUS Webinar Now Available

You can now access a recording of the June 24, 2019 webinar, Exploring Possible Changes to USMLE Score Reportinghere.

More than 150 questions were submitted prior to the broadcast. Representatives from the five organizations sponsoring the Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring (InCUS) answered many of these, as well as fielding questions during the live recording. All questions will be used to develop FAQs, which will be posted on usmle.org.

Sponsors of InCUS are the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Medical Association (AMA), the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).

The USMLE encourages the submission of feedback about the recommendations until the public comment period closes on July 26.

USMLE score reporting is a complex issue. Updates and information will be made available on the usmle.org website.

ECFMG/FAIMER Named a Healthiest Employer in the Region by Philadelphia Business Journal

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) share a mission to promote quality health care worldwide — and they are being recognized for bringing that mission to life within the organization. ECFMG/FAIMER has been selected as a 2019 Healthiest Employer of Greater Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

ECFMG/FAIMER is one of only 36 businesses and organizations in the Greater Philadelphia region selected for this year’s honor. It is the seventh time ECFMG/FAIMER received the award, having been recognized most recently in 2015.

“We are thrilled once again to be recognized for our commitment to employee well-being,” said William W. Pinsky, MD, President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of FAIMER. “We take a deliberate and holistic approach in developing our wellness program, knowing that this investment will benefit our employees as well as the important work we perform around the world.”

The health care plans offered by ECFMG/FAIMER provide extensive coverage at a very low cost to employees. On-site exercise and Weight Watchers classes and gym membership reimbursements also are offered. In addition to programs that promote physical health, there are a variety of offerings to promote emotional, financial, social, and occupational well-being. For more information on benefits and career opportunities at ECFMG/FAIMER, visit www.ecfmg.org/about/careers.html.

To be considered for the honor, employers complete an online assessment. The Business Journal partners with national company Springbuk to evaluate and assess the nominees for the Healthiest Employers program. Each nominated employer is judged on six values, including:

  • Vision: Clearly understands the challenges and opportunities which differentiate its workplace, workforce, and industry, and has identified the attributes that set its corporate wellness initiatives apart and above.
  • Culture/Engagement: Engages the hearts, minds, and bodies of employees to address and affect well-being. “Walks the talk” in every respect of workplace culture, including working conditions and organizational practices.
  • Learning: Employer is a learning-minded organization that demonstrates a track record of continuous improvement leading to increasingly successful and repeatable employee wellness outcomes.
  • Expertise: Seeks out wellness professionals who balance subject-matter expertise with emotional intelligence and a deep understanding of behavior and motivation. Develops the internal know-how to execute on organizational vision.
  • Metrics: Employer clearly understands and defines the strategic value of wellness to the overall organization. Measures success and makes adjustments as needed to sustain and improve results.
  • Technology: Maintains awareness of tools and technologies and understands how to match them to organizational needs. Deploys the most suitable technologies to direct and manage corporate wellness initiatives.

ECFMG/FAIMER Announces Recipients of 2019 Student Projects for Health Awards

By developing programs that promote HIV prevention, tackle malnutrition, and combat air pollution, college students around the world aren’t waiting until they graduate to make a difference in their communities, and they are being recognized for their efforts. The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) on Monday announced the recipients of the 2019 Student Projects for Health awards.

Now in its fifth year, the Student Projects for Health competition recognizes students who have made outstanding contributions through projects that promote community health and well-being. It is open to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in any course of study who have been participating in such projects. The competition is supported by FAIMER and by ECFMG through its GEMxsm program, which promotes global educational exchange in medicine and the health professions. Since the competition was launched in 2015, ECFMG/FAIMER has presented awards to 75 students from 22 countries.

“Promoting quality medical education and health care worldwide are core to the ECFMG/FAIMER mission,” said William W. Pinsky, MD, President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of FAIMER. “The quality of this year’s projects and the engagement of these students in improving the health of their communities are truly inspiring. The recipients have demonstrated the innovation and diversity of efforts needed to meet global health care needs.”

From the 72 submissions received from around the globe, ECFMG/FAIMER selected 12 students from nine countries to receive this year’s awards. Submissions were reviewed by an international panel of 18 reviewers. They were judged on the quality of the project, degree and nature of the applicant’s participation, the applicant’s contribution to project innovation, the impact of the project, and diffusion and integration of the project.

The award recipients are invited to present their projects during the 2019 conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health which will be held September 10-13 in Darwin, Australia. The award includes air travel, hotel accommodations, and conference registration fee.

Student Projects for Health award recipients
Recent Student Projects for Health award recipients presenting their projects at the conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health. As recipients, students receive free air travel, hotel accommodations, and conference registration.

The 2019 recipients are:

  • Oscar Acopiado of Manila, Philippines, a medical student at the University of the Philippines Manila College of Medicine, for the project titled The Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival for Health
  • Samuel Robert Bunting of Chicago, Ill., a medical student at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Sciences Chicago Medical School, for the project titled Interprofessional Collaboration to Increase PrEP Prescription for HIV-Prevention in Primary Care: A Student-Led Initiative
  • Fabrice Humara of Kigali, Rwanda, a pharmacy student at the University of Rwanda College of Medicine & Health Sciences, for the project titled Pharmacy Students’ Engagement in Prison Inmates’ Health Attention to Tuberculosis Disease
  • Hiba Eltayeb Mahgoub of Wad Madani, Sudan, a medical student at the University of Gezira, for the project titled Health Promotion Among School-Aged Children in Wadsrair El-Dar Village
  • Lauren Yu-Lien Maldonado of Durham, N.C., and Los Angeles, Calif., a medical student at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, for the project titled Chamas for Change: An Integrated Maternal and Child Peer Support and Micro-Finance Model in Western Kenya
  • Evode Mbabazi of Kigali, Rwanda, a medical student at the University of Rwanda College of Medicine & Health Sciences, for the project titled CINEMA Education for Health
  • Yidnekachew Girma Mogessie of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a medical student at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, for the project titled Sexual Health Education for Better Awareness
  • Husna Moola of Cape Town, South Africa, a medical student at the University of Cape Town, for the project titled Prevalence of Dysglycemia in a Population that Attends a Masjid in Cape Town and a Novel Approach to Community Epidemiology
  • Julius Nuwagaba of Kampala, Uganda, a medical student at Makerere University School of Medicine, for the project titled She Decides Project
  • Stephen Odiwuor Ochieng of Juja, Kenya, a medical student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, for the project titled Early Childhood Development Center Malnutrition Program
  • Nishimagizwe Patience of Kigali, Rwanda, a medical student at the University of Rwanda College of Medicine & Health Sciences, for the project titled CompanionApp
  • Amitavikram Sattigeri of Delhi, India, a medical student at Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, for the project titled WindMe: The Electricity-Free Exhaust Fan for Combating Indoor Air Pollution in Indian Slums

NBME Issues 2020 John P. Hubbard Award Call for Nominations

The National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®) invites nominations for the 2020 John P. Hubbard Award, which recognizes excellence in the field of evaluation in medicine. NBME grants the Hubbard Award to individuals who have made a significant and sustained contribution to the assessment of professional competency and educational program development at any level along the continuum of medical education and delivery of health care.

For more information, including criteria for the award and a list of past award recipients, please visit http://www.nbme.org/about/hubbard/. NBME hopes you will find time to consider this information and pass it along to others who may have interest in the nomination process for the 2020 Hubbard Award. The deadline for nominations is September 13, 2019.

On-line Services Are Now Available

UPDATE: ECFMG has completed the scheduled maintenance, and all on-line services are now available. Thank you for your patience. Last updated June 15, 2019, 7:09 pm US EDT.

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services will be unavailable beginning at approximately 8:00 a.m. on June 15, 2019. Services are expected to be restored by 5:00 p.m. on the same day. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

During this maintenance period, you will be unable to access 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.

Preliminary Recommendations for USMLE Score Reporting Now Available

Public comment period runs until July 26, 2019.

Preliminary recommendations on USMLE score reporting from the convening organizations of the Invitational Conference on USMLE Scoring (InCUS) are now available online. From now until July 26, 2019, individuals and organizations interested in this United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) topic can review the recommendations, hear podcasts about InCUS, sign up for a webinar, and submit comments about the recommendations.