New ECFMG Program Provides Support and Service to International Medical Graduates

ECFMG® is pleased to announce the launch of the ECFMG Certificate Holders Office (ECHO), a new program that provides support and service to ECFMG-certified physicians, and physicians about to be certified, as they plan their careers. ECHO expands on the resources offered by ECFMG’s former Acculturation Program.

ECHO provides free resources that allow international medical graduates (IMGs) to be better prepared and organized in making important career decisions. In addition to allowing them to access ECFMG’s expertise, ECHO also enables IMGs to connect with other experts and organizations, and with each other, to learn, share, and network. ECHO’s feedback mechanisms offer new ways for IMGs to communicate with ECFMG on an ongoing basis, establishing a dialogue between ECFMG and the physicians it certifies.

As ECFMG’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel G. Cassimatis, M.D., observes, “Providing these additional services to the physicians we certify enhances their professional development. ECHO also strengthens the relationship between ECFMG and IMGs, extending our connection beyond ECFMG Certification and ensuring opportunities for IMGs to tell us what they need and how we can better meet these needs.”

Read the press release.

ERAS Support Services at ECFMG Eliminates Original Document Policy

The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS®) Support Services at ECFMG no longer requires that letters of recommendation (LoRs) and Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs) submitted as part of an ERAS residency application be original documents. This change took effect for the ERAS 2013 season, which opened in June 2012.

Prior to this change, ERAS Support Services at ECFMG required that all LoRs and MSPEs submitted as part of an ERAS application be original documents. In accordance with this policy, ERAS Support Services at ECFMG made a visual inspection of every LoR and MSPE submitted via mail. If a document was determined to be a copy, and not an original, ERAS Support Services at ECFMG stamped the document as follows:

COPY–Originals Required For This Document Type
ERAS Support Services

Since implementation of the original document policy in 2006, ERAS Support Services has developed web-based methods for receiving supporting documents electronically rather than receiving paper documents by mail. As a result, most supporting documents can be submitted electronically to ECFMG, including LoRs and MSPEs. Web-based submission of supporting documents is available to ERAS applicants, representatives of their medical schools, and individuals writing LoRs on their behalf. The elimination of the original document policy reflects the growing number of supporting documents received electronically.

It is important for program directors to note that applicants who participated in ERAS 2012 and who participate in ERAS for 2013 may reuse supporting documents from the ERAS 2012 application season. This means that, for ERAS 2013, program directors may still receive supporting documents stamped with the above annotation. Program directors should disregard this annotation and not disfavor the associated application.

ERAS 2013 Residency Tokens Now Available

Residency Tokens for the ERAS 2013 application season are now available through ECFMG’s On-line Applicant Status and Information System (OASIS). You can use a 2013 Token to register with AAMC’s MyERAS beginning on Sunday, July 1, 2012.

If you plan to apply for U.S. residency positions that begin in July 2013, visit the ERAS Support Services section of the ECFMG website for important information and instructions on how to obtain an ERAS Token.

ERAS® 2013 Program Information for IMGs Now Available

Information for international medical students/graduates on the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) 2013 application season is now available. If you plan to apply for U.S. residency positions that begin in July 2013, visit the ERAS Support Services section of the ECFMG website for important information. Most U.S. residency programs participate in ERAS. If you apply to participating programs, you must apply to these programs using ERAS.

At the ERAS Support Services section of the ECFMG website, you will be able to:

  • View instructions on how to obtain an ERAS Token, which will allow you to access the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) MyERAS website to work on your residency applications.
  • Review policies and procedures that are new for ERAS 2013.
  • Find instructions for submitting your supporting documents, such as letters of recommendation and transcripts, to ERAS Support Services for transmission to the ERAS PostOffice.

Residency Tokens for the ERAS 2013 application season are expected to be available through ECFMG’s On-line Applicant Status and Information System (OASIS) beginning at the end of June. You can use a 2013 Token to register with AAMC’s MyERAS beginning on July 1, 2012.

ERAS 2013 Applicants Can Upload Supporting Documents Using ECFMG’s OASIS

ECFMG has expanded its On-line Applicant Status and Information System (OASIS) to allow ERAS 2013 applicants to electronically submit several document types in support of their residency application, including Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs), medical school transcripts, photographs, Postgraduate Training Authorization Letter (PTAL) or “California Letter,” and letters of recommendation (LoRs), if you have not waived your right to view them. Please note that students/graduates of medical schools that participate in the ECFMG Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP) ERAS program cannot upload MSPEs or medical school transcripts using OASIS. Please contact your medical school to have these documents submitted on your behalf.  For more information, see the About Supporting Documents page.

As your designated Dean’s office, ERAS Support Services at ECFMG will evaluate each uploaded document to ensure clarity of image and to verify that each document has been uploaded to the slot designated for that document type. Document types that are not part of the ERAS application—document submission forms, AAMC’s Letter Request Form, diplomas, foreign language documents, curriculum vitae, etc.—should not be uploaded. If you upload any of these document types, ECFMG will remove the document, and it will not be transmitted to programs.

Please note that applicants can only upload an LoR using OASIS if they have not waived their right to view the LoR. If you would like to waive your right to view an LoR and have it submitted electronically on your behalf, you can send an electronic request to your letter writer using OASIS. For more information, see the Letter Writer Portal Requests page.

Supporting documents uploaded through OASIS and LWP will take one to two weeks to process. Documents submitted to ECFMG via mail or courier service for scanning will take four to six weeks to process. ERAS Support Services will contact you, via e-mail, about any discrepancies found during the quality control process. For more information on submitting supporting documents using OASIS, see the Electronic Document Submission page.

ECFMG Medical School Web Portal (EMSWP) ERAS Program

The EMSWP ERAS program allows international medical schools to upload Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs), medical school transcripts, and letters of recommendation (LoRs) through a secure site on behalf of their students and graduates who participate in ERAS. Participating schools can also track receipt of ERAS supporting documents received by ECFMG and verify the ERAS registration activity of their students and graduates.

The EMSWP ERAS program is offered at no cost to international medical schools, and participating schools can eliminate the costs associated with submitting paper documents to ECFMG via mail or courier service. Uploading ERAS documents through EMSWP significantly reduces the processing time required by ECFMG. The standard turnaround time for documents submitted via mail or courier service for scanning is four to six weeks, and the standard turnaround time for documents uploaded through EMSWP is one to two business days.

ERAS Support Services at ECFMG works in close collaboration with international medical schools that participate in the EMSWP ERAS program to assist students/graduates with their ERAS application supporting documents. Each participating school is appointed an ECFMG ERAS advisor who provides support and personal assistance with the process. ERAS Support Services also conducts informational web-conferences for the international medical community about the EMSWP ERAS program, the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) ERAS, and the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), as well as ECFMG updates.

For more information on the EMSWP ERAS program and how to establish an account, medical school representatives can contact Patricia Baldwin-Browns, ERAS Program Administrator, via e-mail at erasadmin@ecfmg.org.

Return of Document Service (RODS) Discontinued

The Return of Document Service (RODS) was an optional service that allowed ERAS participants to request the return of certain eligible paper documents that were sent to ERAS Support Services by mail or courier service for the current ERAS application season.

Please note that ERAS Support Services at ECFMG discontinued RODS at the close of the ERAS 2012 season. This means that paper documents sent by mail or courier service to ERAS Support Services at ECFMG for the ERAS 2013 application season will not be eligible for return.

ERAS Support Services for Letter Writers Now Available

The ECFMG ERAS Letter Writer Portal (LWP) provides letter of recommendation writers with the ability to upload letters of recommendation (LoRs) directly to ERAS Support Services on behalf of an ERAS applicant. In order for a letter writer to upload an LoR on your behalf using LWP, you must send an electronic request to the letter writer using OASIS. ERAS applicants can visit the Letter Writer Portal Requests page for more information.

For the ERAS 2013 season, ERAS Support Services has developed a new section of the ECFMG website, ERAS Support Services for Letter Writers, to provide information and assistance to letter writers using LWP.

AAMC’s MyERAS PostOffice Opens September 15 for ERAS 2013 Season

The Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) MyERAS PostOffice opens September 15 for the ERAS 2013 season, two weeks later than last year. On this date, ERAS 2013 participating applicants can begin applying to U.S. residency programs and programs can begin downloading ERAS applications and supporting documents (with the exception of the Medical Student Performance Evaluation). For more information, see the ERAS 2013 Timeline.

Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) To Be Released on October 1

The ERAS PostOffice will release Medical Student Performance Evaluations (MSPEs) to U.S. residency programs on October 1 for the ERAS 2013 season, one month earlier than last year. Applicants should ensure that their MSPEs are submitted to ERAS Support Services at ECFMG in time for processing and transmission to the ERAS PostOffice. For more information on MSPEs and submitting documents in support of your ERAS application, see the ERAS Support Services for Applicants section of the ECFMG website.