News

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.

ERAS 2021 Residency Tokens Now Available

Residency Tokens for the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®) 2021 application season are now available through ECFMG’s On-line Applicant Status and Information System (OASIS). You can use a 2021 Token to register at the MyERAS website of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), effective Tuesday, June 23, 2020, and begin work on your residency application.

If you plan to apply for U.S. residency positions that begin in July 2021, visit the ERAS Support Services section of the ECFMG website for important information and instructions on how to obtain an ERAS Token.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to be eligible to participate in the National Resident Matching Program® Main Residency Match®, which will be held in March 2021, IMGs must have a passing performance on the exams required for ECFMG Certification. The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program has suspended Step 2 CS exams for 12-18 months. ECFMG|FAIMER has published preliminary information on how qualified IMGs who have not passed Step 2 CS can meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification. You can learn more on the ECFMG website at https://www.ecfmg.org/certification-requirements-2021-match/.

USMLE Timeline for Step 1 Pass/Fail Score Reporting

The co-sponsors of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®)—the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)―have recently received requests from examinees and student organizations to accelerate or delay the change to pass/fail score reporting for USMLE Step 1 in light of the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and social movements across the country. The USMLE program’s announcement of the Step 1 score reporting policy change, posted in February 2020, said the change in score reporting would be implemented no earlier than January 2022. After careful consideration of all the recent concerns that have been brought to the USMLE program’s attention, the USMLE program remains committed to the January 2022 timeline.

For more information, please read the full announcement on the USMLE website.

Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match

To be certified by ECFMG, international medical graduates (IMGs) have been required to pass Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®). In response to the suspension of Step 2 CS for the next 12-18 months by the USMLE program, we have identified pathways that will allow qualified IMGs who have not passed Step 2 CS to meet the requirements for ECFMG Certification. These pathways allow ECFMG Certification to continue to perform its critical function of providing assurance to the public and U.S. graduate medical education (GME) programs that IMGs are ready to enter supervised training.

Please note: Applicants who have passed Step 2 CS and/or are certified by ECFMG do not need to be familiar with these new requirements and do not need to pursue these pathways.

The pathways are directed toward IMGs who intend to enter the 2021 Match. All other eligibility requirements for ECFMG Certification will remain in effect. An application process and instructions for the pathways are currently in development, with further details to be provided very soon. We are providing preliminary information now in order to direct individuals to begin their planning as they seek to enter U.S. GME programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for the 2021-2022 academic year.

For additional information, visit Requirements for ECFMG Certification for 2021 Match on this website. Additional details will be published as they become available, and modifications to the information are possible. Please monitor this website for the latest information.

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.

U.S. and International Prometric Test Centers Are Operating and International Medical Graduates Are Able to Schedule Appointments

Prometric has informed ECFMG that most international test centers are open with testing slots available for United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) examinees. Testing centers in the following areas are planned to open as follows:

  • Next week: Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, Lebanon, and Pakistan
  • Mid to late June: Rest of Europe, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates

There are some countries with governmental mandates preventing testing, including Qatar.

Prometric test centers in the U.S. are open in major markets. Due to the need to follow state and local regulations, some cancelations are still occurring. Testing center capacity is increasing overall as additional hours and days of the week are being added.

Please regularly check the scheduling system to check availability, as test centers are opening on a regular basis. In addition, refer to the Prometric Social Distancing Policies prior to taking the exam.

ERAS 2021 Program Information for IMGs Now Available

Information for international medical students/graduates (IMGs) on the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®) 2021 application season is now available. If you plan to apply for U.S. residency positions* that begin in July 2021, 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 use ERAS to do so.

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

  • See an overview of the Application Process and Timeline.
  • View instructions on how to obtain an ERAS Token, which will enable you to register at the MyERAS website of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and work on your residency applications.
  • Find instructions for submitting your supporting documents, such as letters of recommendation and transcripts.

ERAS Support Services will transmit your supporting documents to your ERAS application. All supporting documents must be submitted electronically. For more details, please refer to the “Upload Your Documents Now” e-mail that will be sent to you via the MyERAS Message Center after you have registered at MyERAS.

Residency Tokens for the ERAS 2021 application season will be available through ECFMG’s On-line Applicant Status and Information System (OASIS) beginning June 23, 2020. You can use a 2021 Token to register with AAMC’s MyERAS beginning June 23, 2020.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to be eligible to participate in the National Resident Matching Program® Main Residency Match®, which will be held in March 2021, IMGs must have a passing performance on the exams required for ECFMG Certification (Step 1 CK, Step 2 CK, and Step 2 CS). The United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program has suspended Step 2 CS exams for 12-18 months. ECFMG|FAIMER has published preliminary information on how qualified IMGs who have not passed Step 2 CS can meet the Requirements for ECFMG Certification. You can learn more on the ECFMG website at https://www.ecfmg.org/certification-requirements-2021-match/.

(posted June 9, 2020; updated June 19, 2020)

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.

USMLE COVID-19 Update: A Phased Approach for Expanding Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3 Testing

On May 15, the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) program published a weekly COVID-19 update on its website. Topics include:

  • Expanding Testing Capacity for Step 1, Step 2 CK, and Step 3
  • Delaying Step 1 and Step 2 CK Content Changes

Examinees should read the full announcement on the USMLE website.

On May 18, the the USMLE program published an announcement that a pilot will begin next week for phase one of the approach for expanding testing capacity: regional testing centers at U.S. medical schools.

On May 20, the USMLE program published an update on regional and event-based testing at U.S. medical schools.

Examinees should monitor the USMLE website frequently for updates.

(posted May 20, 2020; updated May 21, 2020)