IWA Unavailable December 31-January 1

Due to required maintenance, ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA) will be unavailable from approximately 4:00 p.m. on December 31, 2011 through approximately 12:15 a.m. on January 1, 2012. All times are calculated using Eastern Time in the United States.

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.

ECFMG Named One of The Principal 10 Best Companies for 2011

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) has been named a 2011 winner of The Principal® 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security. Presented by The Principal Financial Group®, The Principal 10 Best Companies is a national program recognizing growing companies that excel at helping employees build their financial futures through excellent benefits programs. Winners are selected by an independent panel of financial services and human resources experts that evaluate entrants on criteria such as the variety of financial benefits offered; the financial value of benefits offered; level of commitment to the financial security of employees; and the entrants’ industry, strength of benefits for that industry, and the demographics of their workforce.

ECFMG’s mission, promoting quality health care for the public, is critically important. Retaining the skill and expertise represented by ECFMG’s employees is essential to fulfilling this mission and to continuing to be responsive to its examinees and other constituencies. As observed by ECFMG’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel G. Cassimatis, M.D., “Working in a positive environment and having colleagues who are happy to be here makes for a better atmosphere for everyone—and, ultimately, results in better service to our customers.”

ECFMG Launches Redesigned Website

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is pleased to announce a comprehensive redesign of its website at http://www.ecfmg.org. Launched on August 15, the new site has been designed to provide enhanced service to users of ECFMG’s programs and others with an interest in ECFMG’s mission, activities, and resources.

In creating the new website, we have improved the organization of existing content and added new information and features. The new site offers useful introductions to ECFMG programs and easy access to its on-line services. New and established applicants can use the Applicant Portal for quick access to commonly-requested items. Get the latest updates by visiting the new, searchable News page. Find new data exhibits on international medical graduates pursuing ECFMG Certification and ECFMG J-1 visa sponsorship among the site’s new Resources. A new search function allows users to find information and resources quickly and easily. Or simply use the site to learn more About ECFMG.

We are excited to be able to bring you these enhancements and invite you to explore the redesigned site at http://www.ecfmg.org.

IMG Performance in the 2011 Match

For the ninth consecutive year, the number of first-year (PGY-1) residency positions offered through the Match increased. A total of 23,421 first-year positions were offered in the 2011 Match, held earlier this month. This represents an increase of 612 positions compared to last year and an increase of more than 2,800 positions since 2002.

The number of IMGs, including Fifth Pathway participants, who matched to first-year positions decreased by 60 compared to 2010. Of the 10,477 IMGs who participated in the 2011 Match, 4,626 (44.2%) matched. In the 2010 Match, 4,686 (42.4%) IMGs were matched to first-year positions.

Of the 6,659 IMG participants who were not U.S. citizens, 2,721 (40.9%) obtained first-year positions. The number of non-U.S. citizen IMGs who obtained positions in 2011 decreased by 160 compared to last year.

Of the 3,769 U.S. citizen IMG participants, 1,884 (50.0%) were matched to first-year positions, an increase of 135 over last year. This is the eighth consecutive year that there has been an increase in the number of U.S. citizen IMGs matching to first-year positions.

Of the 49 Fifth Pathway participants in the Match, 21 (42.9%) were matched to first-year positions.

It is important to note that the total number of IMGs who will fill PGY-1 positions for the 2011-2012 academic year will be higher than the number obtaining positions through the 2011 Match. Although the majority of PGY-1 positions in the United States are filled through the Match, a significant number of IMG applicants obtain positions outside of the Match. For example, while 4,796 IMGs obtained PGY-1 positions through the 2009 Match, 7,335 IMGs entered PGY-1 for the 2009-2010 academic year.

The 7,335 IMGs entering PGY-1 for the 2009-2010 academic year is an increase of 59 over the prior year and an increase of 1,262 since the 2002-2003 academic year.

About the Match

The annual NRMP Match is the system by which applicants are matched with available residency positions in U.S. programs of graduate medical education (GME). Participants submit to the NRMP a list of residency programs, in order of preference. Ranked lists of preferred residency candidates are likewise submitted by U.S. GME programs with available positions. The matching of applicants to available positions is performed by computer algorithm. The Match results announced in March of each year are typically for GME programs beginning the following July.

Additional Resources on the Match and Match Results

The preceding data are taken from the Advance Data Tables for the 2011 Main Residency Match compiled by the NRMP. These tables provide detailed information on the positions offered and filled by the Match in 2011 and prior years. To access these tables, or to obtain further information on the NRMP, visit www.nrmp.org.

The June issue of Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, usually offers an analysis of Match results from the preceding March. For more information, visit your medical school’s library or www.academicmedicine.org.

The September issue of JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association traditionally provides an in-depth analysis of graduate medical education in the United States. This analysis includes the number of IMGs entering and continuing in U.S. GME programs and a breakdown of IMG resident physicians by specialty and subspecialty. Visit your medical school’s library or http://jama.ama-assn.org.

Important Announcement Regarding Fifth Pathway Certificates and USMLE Step 3

Currently, the USMLE program accepts either a valid Standard ECFMG Certificate or a valid Fifth Pathway certificate (issued through December 31, 2009) from international medical graduates for purposes of meeting Step 3 eligibility requirements. The governing committee of the USMLE program and the USMLE parent organizations (the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners) have determined that the USMLE program will cease acceptance of Fifth Pathway certificates for the purpose of meeting Step 3 eligibility requirements, effective January 1, 2017. Individuals who hold valid Fifth Pathway certificates, and are otherwise eligible, may use their Fifth Pathway certificates to meet Step 3 eligibility requirements, and may apply for Step 3, through December 31, 2016.

Individuals holding Fifth Pathway certificates that are not accepted by the USMLE program for purposes of meeting Step 3 eligibility will be required to obtain ECFMG certification in order to be eligible for Step 3.

If you hold a valid Fifth Pathway certificate but have not completed the full USMLE sequence, you should remain mindful of the December 31, 2016 deadline, after which use of your Fifth Pathway certificate to meet Step 3 eligibility requirements will not be permitted.

Information on Step 3 eligibility requirements is found at the USMLE website.

About the Fifth Pathway

The Fifth Pathway, created by the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1971, has allowed certain students who attended four years at an international medical school to complete their supervised clinical work at a U.S. medical school, to become eligible for entry to U.S. residency training, and ultimately to obtain a license to practice in the United States.

Individuals who pursued the Fifth Pathway completed the four-year didactic curriculum at the international medical school, but they did not complete the internship and/or social service requirement for graduation. Instead, they completed a Fifth Pathway program, which was one year of supervised clinical work at a U.S. medical school. Since they did not complete the internship and/or social service requirement, they did not receive the final medical diploma, and, therefore, are not eligible for ECFMG Certification.

The AMA’s Council on Medical Education has withdrawn its support of the Fifth Pathway as a mechanism for eligibility to enter the first year of ACGME-accredited graduate medical education programs. The last Fifth Pathway program class supported was the January 2009 entering class, which ended in December 2009.

(posted March 27, 2008; updated August 26, 2008, May 4, 2010)