ECFMG|FAIMER Research Finds Drop in Interest From Muslim-Majority Country Physicians

Applications for ECFMG Certification from citizens of Muslim-majority countries have decreased since 2016 which could exacerbate gaps in the U.S. physician workforce, according to an article co-authored by ECFMG|FAIMER executives and published July 6 in the JAMA Network Open, an on-line publication of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The article, Prevalence of International Medical Graduates from Muslim-Majority Nations in the U.S. Physician Workforce from 2009 to 2019, was authored by John Boulet, PhD, Vice President for Research and Data Resources for ECFMG|FAIMER; William W. Pinsky, MD, President and CEO of ECFMG|FAIMER; and Robbert J. Duvivier, MD, PhD of the Parnassia Psychiatric Institute in The Hague, Netherlands.

According to the article, citizens from Muslim-majority nations made up 4.5 percent of the U.S. physician workforce in 2019. Applications for ECFMG Certification from citizens of these countries increased from 2009 to 2015 but decreased considerably from 2016 to 2018, especially for citizens of Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

The article has generated significant coverage in the news media internationally, including articles in The Arab Weekly, Arabian Business, Free Malaysia Today, and The Daily Mail to name a few.

ECFMG|FAIMER Supports Coalition Recommendations for Fellowship Applicants in 2020-2021

On June 16, the Coalition for Physician Accountability, of which ECFMG|FAIMER is a member, released its report titled Recommendations for Away Rotations and Interviews for Graduate Medical Education Fellowship Applicants During the 2020-2021 Academic Year. The report builds on the Coalition’s work to address aspects of the transition from medical school to residency during COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

ECFMG|FAIMER supports the Coalition’s recommendations for the sub-specialty community, which address away rotations, in-person interviews, and general communications. More information is available in the full report.

The Coalition exemplifies the collaboration required to create the best solutions for all stakeholders impacted by the pandemic. ECFMG|FAIMER looks forward to continuing to join with Coalition members and other partners to find those solutions.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable June 19-21

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 19, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, 2020. 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
  • 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.

An Open Letter from ECFMG|FAIMER President to Staff on Diversity

Dear Colleagues,

You may recall that I recently referenced the George Floyd murder and our commitment to diversity. As I have thought about this, and the subsequent events of the week, I recognize both my own reflections and my statements are inadequate.

As a white male, I clearly take many things for granted. Even though I have experienced anti-Semitism numerous times throughout my life, I have never experienced anything like what our African American colleagues and neighbors endure.  And to make matters worse now, long-standing inequities in access to health care have contributed to the way in which COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted our African American community.

I am heartened that as I reflect on my life, I believe my attitudes and behavior have been consistently inclusive thanks to the culture I was raised in.  I have worked to live this value of inclusivity in everything I do, in interacting with friends and colleagues, and as a leader ensuring fairness and diversity in an organization.

I realize now that this probably has not been enough. I need to learn more about the social pain of others; I need to do more. It’s not just about equality, it’s about equal justice. I pledge to all of you, while ECFMG|FAIMER continues to be a diverse organization, pursuing our mission worldwide, we will do more. We will speak out.

I look forward to hearing from you how we can serve our diverse workforce better and in fact serve our communities across the world better.

Please be involved, be safe, and be healthy.

Best,

Bill Pinsky

William W. Pinsky, MD, FAAP, FACC
President and CEO, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
Chair, Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER)
Professor (Hon.), University of Queensland

ECFMG|FAIMER Responds to Suspension of USMLE Step 2 CS Testing, Commits to Uninterrupted Pathway for IMGs to ECFMG Certification

The May 26 announcement by the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program that it will suspend Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) testing for an additional 12-18 months creates a major disruption to the education and assessment of all medical students and graduates who seek to train and practice in the United States. The impact of the USMLE program’s decision is significant and immediate for international medical students and graduates (IMGs) who have relied on Step 2 CS to meet the clinical skills requirement for ECFMG® Certification, to participate in the National Resident Matching Program (“the Match”), and to enter U.S. programs of graduate medical education (GME).

ECFMG|FAIMER is committed to the continued smooth operation of its certification program and the ability of qualified IMGs to pursue and participate in U.S. GME without interruption. We are engaged in the following activities in response to the suspension of Step 2 CS testing.

  • Identifying alternatives to Step 2 CS that can be available now to allow IMGs to meet the clinical skills requirement for ECFMG Certification and providing an update on these alternatives in the very immediate future;
  • Collaborating with organizations involved in the recruitment and training of medical school graduates in the United States to mitigate disruptions; and
  • Advocating forcefully for the interests of IMGs as plans develop for the continued training of physicians during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

This commitment underscores the vital importance of ECFMG Certification, which has served the U.S. medical education and regulatory communities, IMGs, and the public for almost 70 years. ECFMG’s program of certification provides assurance that the IMGs who enter U.S. GME are ready to do so and ensures an adequate and qualified pool of IMG applicants—trainees who will join the next generation of physicians.

ECFMG Certification also provides the pathway for the best and brightest physicians from around the world to train in the United States. Across our nation, IMGs fill gaps in training and practice that otherwise would remain empty, thereby ensuring a sufficient number of physicians to care for our population. IMGs also bring important international perspectives and much-needed diversity to our physician workforce.

We are committed to ECFMG Certification as a core component of our mission to promote quality medical education and health care. We will continue to support and advocate for IMGs because we know that our nation’s ability to provide accessible, quality health care depends on the continued contributions of IMGs in both U.S. training and practice.

We recognize that many IMGs have questions and concerns, and we are mindful of the need to provide you with effective and prompt answers and solutions in support of your educational plans.

Please stay well and monitor the ECFMG website for updates in the coming weeks.

ECFMG|FAIMER Supports Recommendations for Medical School Graduates Entering PGY-1 Residency Positions in Coming Months

On May 18, the Coalition for Physician Accountability, of which ECFMG®|FAIMER® is a member, released the final report of its work group on Learner Transitions from Medical Schools to Residency Programs in 2020. The report provides important and timely recommendations to mitigate the effects of pandemic-related disruption in the transition from undergraduate medical education to graduate medical education (GME) for more than 30,000 medical school graduates who will begin first-year (PGY-1) residency positions in the United States in the coming months.

ECFMG|FAIMER was represented on the work group, which considered the entire population of incoming PGY-1 residents, including more than 7,000 international medical graduates (IMGs), and the institutions and programs where they will train. The recommendations acknowledge that the pandemic may present elevated risks to the well-being of all PGY-1 residents and that IMGs may face unique challenges.

ECFMG|FAIMER strongly endorses the report’s recommendations, which include:

  • Accommodation of delayed arrival at residency programs due to reasons that include international travel, health concerns, visa issues, or licensure delays
  • Orientation to infection protection, including the provision of personal protective equipment and training in its use
  • Augmented relocation assistance in the form of referrals for services such as health care, housing, legal assistance, transportation, and child care
  • Augmented assessment and monitoring of resident well-being throughout the academic year
  • Enhanced cultural and community support for IMGs, in recognition of their increased risk for social isolation and other unique circumstances

For complete information, please read the final report.

As the J-1 visa sponsor for all foreign national physicians in U.S. GME, ECFMG|FAIMER is committed to the well-being of these physicians as they train in the United States. We welcome the Coalition’s coordinated and collaborative approach to protect all learners, as well as the broader health care workforce, patients, and the public.

ECFMG Medical School Accreditation Requirement Moved to 2024

ECFMG previously announced that, starting in 2023, applicants for ECFMG Certification will be required to be a student or graduate of a medical school that is appropriately accredited. More specifically, the medical school must be accredited by an agency recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). To date, 21 accrediting agencies have received WFME recognition, with many others in process. We are energized by the commitment to quality improvement demonstrated in response to this initiative.

At the same time, we recognize that many countries have been forced to suspend or limit their accreditation efforts due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As such, we are moving the implementation of the requirement to 2024. We will announce an effective date as we approach 2024; we will also continue to reassess this timeline as needed.

Further information regarding this change will be provided in the coming weeks on our website at www.ecfmg.org/accreditation.

ECFMG On-line Services Unavailable May 15-17

Due to scheduled maintenance, ECFMG’s on-line services are expected to be unavailable beginning at approximately 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 15, 2020. Services are expected to be restored by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, 2020. 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.