FAIMER Offering $30,000 Grants to Support Expansion of Community Health Projects That Work

The Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) announces the opening of its 2019 Projects That Work competition. This annual international competition shines a spotlight on projects that have had a significant impact on the health of communities and education of health professionals. This year, for the first time, FAIMER is excited to offer five grants of up to $30,000 each to help recipients expand their work.

Launched in 2013, Projects That Work has showcased more than 30 projects that have succeeded beyond initial implementation and had a significant impact on community health or health professions education over three or more years. “Projects are an important link between capacity building of health workers and impact on community health,” says William Burdick, M.D., FAIMER’s Vice President for Education. “Our Projects That Work competition highlights the teamwork, innovation, and evaluation that characterize the best of these.”

Past projects have focused on issues such as point-of-care diabetes testing in Cameroon, medical technology aimed at improving maternal and child health in India, hygiene and water sanitation projects in Rwanda, and malnutrition reduction field training in the Philippines, to name just a few. By providing the leaders of these projects with the opportunity to present their work to large audiences at the annual conference of The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH), FAIMER also aims to serve the international health care community at large by broadly disseminating information about what works.

Applications for 2019 Projects That Work grants must be completed online at https://faimer.fluidreview.com/res/p/projects-that-work/. Funding decisions will be made by a distinguished panel of international reviewers with a wide variety of expertise in health professions education, and up to five projects will be selected to receive grants. The recipients will present their projects at the 2019 conference of The Network: TUFH, being held September 10-13, 2019, in Darwin, Australia.

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

ECFMG Board Elects Next Leaders, Welcomes Stakeholder Input

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) held their final Board meeting of the year November 29-30, which included the election of the next Chair and Vice Chair of the ECFMG Board and a biannual Stakeholder Engagement Forum.

Board Chair and Vice Chair
Effective January 1, 2019, Dr. Andrew Filak Jr. will serve as Chair of the ECFMG Board of Trustees, and Dr. Maryellen E. Gusic will serve as Vice Chair. Both will serve two-year terms. Although the ECFMG and FAIMER Boards share the same members, Dr. William W. Pinsky, ECFMG President and CEO, will continue to serve as Chair of the FAIMER Board of Directors.

“We are very fortunate to have the deep expertise and extensive experience of Drs. Filak and Gusic to guide us during the next two years,” Dr. Pinsky said. “We look forward to their leadership as we explore new pathways to improve health care and medical education worldwide.”

Dr. Andrew Filak Jr.
Andrew Filak, Jr., MD

Dr. Filak serves as Interim Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine. He previously served as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, founding Chair of the Department of Medical Education and Professor of Medical Education and Family and Community Medicine at the UC College of Medicine. He also served as Vice President for Education for UC Health.

A national leader in medical education, Dr. Filak has served for prominent medical education organizations, including the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Advisory Panel on Medical Education, the Association for Hospital Medical Education (AHME), the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, the Southwest Society of Family Physicians, and the National Board of Medical Examiners® (NBME®). He has received numerous awards throughout his career, most recently the UC College of Medicine’s highest honor, the Daniel Drake Medal, earlier this year.

Dr. Maryellen E. Gusic
Maryellen E. Gusic, MD

Dr. Gusic serves as the Senior Advisor for Educational Affairs and Professor of Medical Education and Pediatrics at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine. Prior to joining the faculty at UVA, she served as Chief Medical Education Officer at AAMC. She has extensive experience in administrative leadership with a career and scholarly focus in education and professional development.

Dr. Gusic’s engagement in national professional organizations and educational associations aligns with her commitment to educational innovation and the professional development of academic faculty. She is a faculty member for the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program, a past President of the Academic Pediatric Association (APA), and former co-director of the organization’s Educational Scholars Program. In addition, she has served on a number of committees at the NBME, including the test development and review committees for the Step 2 Clinical Skills examination. She also served as the Chair of an AAMC Task Force on the Evaluation of Educators and of the AAMC’s Research in Medical Education Program Planning Committee, and was the Senior Associate Editor of Education for Academic Pediatrics.

The November Board meeting also was the last for Dr. Ram Krishna, Dr. James Peake, and Dr. Dotun Ogunyemi, whose terms will conclude at the end of this year. “I would like to thank Drs. Krishna, Peake, and Ogunyemi for their years of dedication to ECFMG and FAIMER,” Dr. Pinsky said. “Their experience and expertise have helped lead us through a time of growth and change, and we are grateful for their service.”

Stakeholder Engagement Forum
On November 30, invited representatives of the ACGME, American Medical Association (AMA), AAMC, AHME, Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), and NBME joined ECFMG and FAIMER Board members to share organizational perspectives and activities related to the theme of physician workforce issues.

“Stakeholder input is critical to what ECFMG and FAIMER do,” said Dr. Pinsky in opening the session. “These partnerships are essential if we are to excel in carrying out our mission.”

ECFMG-FAIMER Stakeholder Engagement Forum guests
ECFMG-FAIMER Stakeholder Engagement Forum guests, from left: Mary Lieh-Lai, MD, Senior Vice President, Medical Accreditation, ACGME; Peter Katsufrakis, MD, MBA, President and CEO, NBME; John Andrews, MD, Vice President, GME Innovations, AMA; Frederick Schiavone, MD, President-Elect, AHME; Dorothy Andriole, MD, Senior Director, Medical Education Research, AAMC; Humayun Chaudhry, DO, President and CEO, FSMB.

Held twice annually in Philadelphia, the Stakeholder Engagement Forums are designed to strengthen partnerships and enhance the perspectives available to ECFMG and FAIMER governance and staff.

ECFMG Launches Resource to Help Students Select a Medical School

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) has launched a new resource for students who plan to apply to medical school. Designed to assist in identifying schools offering quality medical education, this new resource is a valuable tool for those who are beginning their medical education, as well as for current medical school students who plan to transfer to a different medical school. The new resource is available on the ECFMG website at www.ecfmg.org/medschoolselection.

Graduation cap and stethoscope FACEBOOK.jpgIn recent years, there has been rapid growth in the number of medical schools around the world, and there are a small number of schools that engage in spurious business practices. It also has become more common for students to migrate for medical education—attending medical school outside their home country. This situation creates challenges for students who are evaluating schools and deciding where to apply, according to William W. Pinsky, M.D., President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of ECFMG’s Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®).

“With more than 3,000 medical schools worldwide, selecting the right school can be an intimidating task and a significant financial investment,” Dr. Pinsky said. “Our new guide provides prospective medical students around the world with information on the characteristics to consider and questions to ask when evaluating medical schools before applying so they can make a well-informed decision.”

The guide covers such important considerations as accreditation status, curriculum, faculty, educational resources, and the structure of clinical rotations. It also prompts students to ask questions about the student experience, consider how schools market themselves, and talk to alumni about their success in and beyond medical school.

As leading experts on the world’s medical education systems and their graduates, ECFMG and its foundation are uniquely positioned to provide this important guidance to the next generation of physicians. The new resource is an important addition to the collection of services offered by ECFMG and FAIMER to physicians and the medical education community around the world.

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Modern Healthcare Again Names ECFMG/FAIMER a Best Workplace

Philadelphia-Based Non-Profit Also Receives Family-Friendliest Workplace Award

For the second consecutive year, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) have been selected by Modern Healthcare as a Best Place to Work in Healthcare. ECFMG/FAIMER also received the Family-Friendliest Workplace Award for the second year in a row, and was a finalist for the Healthiest Workplace Award.

The Best Places to Work in Healthcare program identifies and recognizes outstanding employers in the health care industry nationwide. Modern Healthcare partners with the Best Companies Group on the assessment process, which includes an extensive employee survey.

“Being recognized by Modern Healthcare as a best place to work nationally is a tremendous honor, especially because it is based on the feedback of our employees,” said William W. Pinsky, M.D., President and CEO of ECFMG and Board Chair of FAIMER. “This honor reflects the passion our employees have for ECFMG/FAIMER and our vision to improve world health through excellence in medical education.”

Modern Healthcare published a feature story on ECFMG/FAIMER as the recipient of the Family-Friendliest Workplace Award. The complete list of this year’s winners is available here. Modern Healthcare will publish a special supplement featuring ranked lists of all the winners with the October 1 issue.

In addition to the Modern Healthcare honor, ECFMG/FAIMER was recognized earlier this year as a Top Workplace in Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Media Network, publishers of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.

President of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) Announces Retirement

John NorciniJohn J. Norcini, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®), has announced that he will retire effective July 1, 2019. Dr. Norcini became FAIMER’s first president in May 2002, and has established numerous worldwide initiatives and programs in medical education, research, and data resource development during his 16-year tenure.

William W. Pinsky, M.D., President and CEO of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and Board Chair of FAIMER, said an international search for Dr. Norcini’s successor will begin immediately.

“John’s dedication to FAIMER’s mission, his energy, and his broad vision have positioned FAIMER as a leader in the promotion of excellence in international health professions education through programmatic and research activities,” Dr. Pinsky said. “ECFMG’s and FAIMER’s board, staff, and partners are proud to share in John’s legacy.”

Dr. Norcini played an instrumental role in the development of FAIMER’s fellowship programs for health professions educators that include the FAIMER Institute, FAIMER Regional Institutes, and the International Fellowship in Medical Education (IFME)–a program originally sponsored by ECFMG, which transitioned to FAIMER in 2001. He championed the alignment of these programs with each other to create an educational pathway that allows international health professions educators to become outstanding local resources for improving health professions education.

Under Dr. Norcini’s supervision, the FAIMER Distance Learning program has flourished, offering health professions educators the knowledge and skills to advance health professions education at their institutions to the highest international standards. Since 2013, he has served as Co-Director of the FAIMER-Keele Master’s in Health Professions Education: Accreditation and Assessment program, conducted in partnership with Keele University and the Centre for Medical Education in Context (CenMEDIC); and he serves as lead faculty for the newly launched FAIMER-Gulf Medical University joint Master in Health Professions Education program.

Dr. Norcini has overseen FAIMER research activities in the broad domains of the international migration of physicians, U.S. physician workforce issues, and international medical education programs. FAIMER also designs and conducts studies focused on international health professions education, including the quality of medical schools and their graduates, international accreditation, licensure, and certification processes. FAIMER frequently conducts these investigations in collaboration with other institutes and researchers, and aims to inform policy makers in government, academia, and various other interested organizations.

FAIMER has also made significant strides in achieving its goal of building information resources on medical education worldwide under Dr. Norcini’s leadership. He has overseen the development of the Directory of Organizations that Recognize/Accredit Medical Schools (DORA), directories of master’s and doctoral programs in health professions education, the Postgraduate Medical Education (PME) Project, and the World Directory of Medical Schools—a resource created and maintained in collaboration with the World Federation for Medical Education.

Dr. Norcini received several awards and honors, including the 2014 Karolinska Institutet Prize for Research in Medical Education for his pioneering research on knowledge decay, specialty certification, and the development of new methods of assessment. In 2009, he received the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) John P. Hubbard Award for his commitment to excellence in medical education, his rigorous pursuit of high standards in scholarship, his broad and prolific publications and presentations history, and his tireless work on behalf of FAIMER. Dr. Norcini’s accomplishments in the field of assessment are considered both wide-ranging and pioneering.

Dr. Norcini has served on the editorial boards of seven peer-reviewed journals in measurement and medical education, has lectured and taught in nearly 50 countries, and has published extensively. He has served on countless committees contributing to the fields of education, assessment, and research.

Before joining FAIMER, Dr. Norcini spent 25 years with the American Board of Internal Medicine serving as Director of Psychometrics, Executive Vice President for Evaluation and Research, and Executive Vice President of the Institute for Clinical Evaluation. He earned his bachelor’s degree from LaSalle University and his doctorate from Bryn Mawr College.

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.

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.

ECFMG and FAIMER Host Inaugural Stakeholder Engagement Forum

Meeting Series Enhances Partnerships and Perspectives

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) have launched a new meeting series designed to strengthen partnerships and enhance the perspectives available to governance and staff. The inaugural Stakeholder Engagement Forum took place on Friday, April 6, in conjunction with the meeting of the Boards of ECFMG and FAIMER in Philadelphia. The ECFMG-FAIMER forums invite leaders in the fields of medical education, assessment, and regulation to share insights on issues of mutual interest as well as updates on their organizations’ activities.

Inaugural ECFMG-FAIMER Stakeholder Engagement Forum Guests
Inaugural ECFMG-FAIMER Stakeholder Engagement Forum Guests, from left: Richard Hawkins, MD, ABMS; Alison Whelan, MD, AAMC; Mellie Pouwels, MA, AMA; Scott Steingard, DO, FSMB

The first session in this series featured leaders from long-standing associates, including the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), American Medical Association (AMA), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). For future sessions, ECFMG and FAIMER will extend invitations to new and potential partners. The Stakeholder Engagement Forums will be held twice annually in Philadelphia.

“It is vital that we stay connected with other organizations committed to quality medical education and health care,” said ECFMG President and FAIMER Board Chair William W. Pinsky, MD. “The forums create regular touchpoints to share ideas, challenges, and solutions.”


ECFMG and FAIMER are private, nonprofit organizations based in Philadelphia in the United States. In partnership with each other and with other organizations around the world, ECFMG and FAIMER work to promote quality medical education and health care worldwide. ECFMG and FAIMER are leading experts on the world’s medical education systems and their graduates, the authenticity of physician credentials, the assessment of physicians, and research on physician migration and U.S. physician workforce issues. ECFMG and FAIMER offer programs and resources that serve global communities of medical educators and regulators; physicians and medical students; and those investigating issues in medical education, assessment, and health workforce planning. Learn more at www.ecfmg.org and www.faimer.org.

ECFMG and FAIMER Named 2018 Top Workplaces in the Delaware Valley

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®) and its Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER®) have been recognized as Top Workplaces by the Philadelphia Media Network. ECFMG and FAIMER were among 125 companies to be honored at an awards ceremony last week. ECFMG and its foundation ranked 27th among 40 companies in the mid-sized category.

2018 Top Workplaces in the Delaware Valley
ECFMG and FAIMER leadership and staff attended the Top Workplaces award ceremony on March 14.

top workplacesWinners are based solely on employee feedback, gathered through third-party research partner Energage, LLC (formerly WorkplaceDynamics). The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, to name just a few.

“I am thrilled that we are succeeding in creating a positive and engaging work experience for employees,” said ECFMG President and CEO, William W. Pinsky, MD (pictured, back row, second from left). “By investing in our employees, we are investing in our mission to promote quality health care around the world.”


ECFMG and FAIMER are private, nonprofit organizations based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a combined total of nearly 1,000 employees. In partnership with each other and with other organizations around the world, ECFMG and FAIMER work to promote quality health care worldwide. More information is available at www.ecfmg.org and www.faimer.org.

Established in 1956, ECFMG offers a variety of programs for the world’s physicians; medical educators; medical regulatory authorities; and other organizations that train, assess, and license physicians. Through its program of certification, ECFMG evaluates whether international medical graduates (IMGs) are qualified to enter U.S. programs of graduate medical education; one-quarter of physicians in training and practice in the United States are IMGs. ECFMG also is a world leader in the primary-source verification of medical credentials, a service that it offers at no cost to organizations worldwide.

Established by ECFMG in 2000, FAIMER offers educational programs for mid- to senior-level health professions educators around the world; conducts research on international medical education programs, IMGs, and the migration of physicians; and builds high-quality data resources that facilitate evaluation and research. In partnership with the World Federation for Medical Education, FAIMER has developed the World Directory of Medical Schools, a comprehensive resource on more than 3,000 medical schools worldwide.

ECFMG Joins National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience

ECFMG is pleased to be a part of the Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience, a new initiative of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) that includes more than 130 health care organizations around the globe. By joining the collaborative, ECFMG and the other member organizations are making a formal commitment to take actions that improve clinician well-being and reduce clinician burnout.

Every year, ECFMG sponsors more than 10,000 foreign national physicians in J-1 visa status to participate in U.S. clinical training programs. These residents and fellows face a number of challenges, including the stresses of living and working in a foreign country, in addition to the significant demands of their training programs. ECFMG and its Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP) are refining a number of initiatives to support these physicians and meet their unique needs.

To learn more, read ECFMG’s Commitment to Physician Well-Being and Resilience statement on the NAM website.