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ECFMG|FAIMER Storytellers

J-1 Duration of Status Infographic
Click to enlarge

International medical graduates account for about one quarter of all physicians in graduate medical education in the United States. Within that cohort there are more than 12,500 foreign national physicians, sponsored by ECFMG on the J-1 visa, providing critical health care services and cultural diversity. ECFMG is designated by the U.S. Department of State as the sole BridgeUSA sponsor for J-1 exchange visitor physicians enrolled in accredited programs of graduate medical education or training. During the COVID-19 pandemic, J-1 physicians have played a vital role on health care teams that are stretched to the limit. This is the story of Dr. Omesh Toolsie:

Dr. Omesh ToolsieName: Dr. Omesh Toolsie
Home Country: Trinidad and Tobago
Training Site: Tufts Medical Center, Massachusetts
Specialty: Sleep Medicine
Journeys in Medicine Blog Post: Critical Care Training in NYC, as COVID-19 Doctor and Patient

“I consider it an honor to have served as a critical care fellow in NYC alongside some of the best people I have ever worked with. I am a stronger intensivist and a better human being for my experience at Montefiore, one that I will never forget. What this ordeal has taught me is that strong and effective leadership, with genuine teamwork, can weather any storm.”

— Dr. Omesh Toolsie

The ECFMG|FAIMER Storytellers series brings the work of ECFMG|FAIMER to life through the stories of the people we serve.

New USMLE App for Reporting Potential Exam Security Violations

United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) exam security helps promote a testing environment where no examinee has an unfair advantage. It also helps to control increases in exam fees by minimizing the number of items removed from USMLE due to potential exposure. The USMLE security program’s goal is to protect the integrity of USMLE, which aims to ensure safe and effective patient care.

To further minimize potential violations, the USMLE program is now offering an app called STOPit, which enables examinees to anonymously report suspected security violations.

You may visit  Apple  or  Google Play Store  to download the free mobile app. Use access code: USMLE-TIP.  A browser-enabled reporting tool is also available.

The STOPit mobile app allows users to:

  • Anonymously report incidents in real time
  • Submit documents, photos, and video evidence
  • Engage in two-way anonymous communication in follow-up to a report
  • Connect with USMLE staff regarding exam security incidents

The USMLE program asks that you please help maintain the integrity of USMLE by downloading the new app.  The USMLE program encourages anyone with knowledge of any activities that may compromise USMLE test items to submit this information through the STOPit app.

If you have questions about the STOPit app, please contact the Office of the USMLE Secretariat at webmail@nbme.org.

Coalition Makes Announcements on UME to GME Transition and Virtual Interviews for 2021-22 Residency Season

The Coalition for Physician Accountability today announced that is has accepted the final report and recommendations of the Undergraduate Medical Education to Graduate Medical Education Review Committee (UGRC) to improve the transition from medical school to residency. In addition, the Coalition earlier this week released new guidance for medical education institutions on interviewing applicants during the 2021-22 residency season.

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates | Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (ECFMG|FAIMER) is a member of the Coalition, a cross-organizational group of national medical education organizations.

UME to GME Report and Recommendations

The UGRC, an independent body of stakeholders commissioned by the Coalition, submitted its final report and 34 recommendations to improve the transition from medical school to residency. The Coalition accepted the report and recommendations and has released them to the public. The release of the report marks the formal completion of the work of the UGRC.

UGRC Co-chairs Dr. Elise Lovell and Dr. George C. Mejicano released a statement in which they  thanked the Coalition for its support in conducting this important work, and thanked each member of the UGRC for their expertise, thoughtfulness, and dedication to improving the UME-to-GME transition for all.

“Over the past year, the UGRC worked tirelessly towards developing solutions to improve the UME-to-GME transition for all involved. We strove to follow a set of guiding principles that supported the public good and encouraged us to act boldly and transparently to address the challenges within the current transition. We believe the recommendations we put forward will create better organizational alignment across the transition, address inequities, enhance wellness and produce many additional positive outcomes.

The UGRC could not have completed its work without the invaluable input and feedback we received from the public and stakeholder organizations throughout the past year. The conversations we had and comments we received from students, program directors, DIOs, medical school deans, medical educators, international medical graduates, and the public had a profound impact in guiding our work and informing the final recommendations.”

The Coalition is committed to working together as each individual Coalition member organization further explores how to address moving forward with the UGRC’s recommendations, collectively and individually. Additional information will be forthcoming as progress is made on planning and implementation of the recommendations.

Recommendations on Virtual Interviews for 2021-22 Residency Season

On August 24, a working group of the Coalition released new guidance on interviewing during the 2021-22 residency season for medical education institutions considering applicants from Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)-accredited, U.S. osteopathic, and non-U.S. medical schools.

The guidance was created in response to ongoing concerns about continuing risk associated with travel for residency interviews arising from the COVID-19 delta variant and its spread across the United States. Eight major national medical education organizations support an extension of the 2020-21 recommendation on interviews. The Coalition urges each medical school, sponsoring institution, specialty society, and residency program to carefully consider the recommendations and commit to working together to create an equitable, transparent, and successful residency selection cycle that prioritizes the safety of all.

ECFMG|FAIMER supports the Coalition’s recommendations, which are intended to add to, but not supersede, the independent judgment of a medical school, sponsoring institution, or residency program regarding the immediate needs of its patients and the preparation of its learners. Medical school deans have the authority and responsibility to make decisions regarding their medical students; and designated institutional officials and program directors have the authority to make decisions regarding residents in their sponsoring institutions and programs. Because students rely on predictable, common practices across schools and programs as they prepare to transition to residency, a shared response to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will reduce unnecessary confusion, stress, and inequity among students while promoting a more successful residency selection process for all.

The latest recommendations include the following:

  • Recommendation 1: Conduct Virtual Interviews for the 2021-22 Recruitment Cycle

    Interest exists to extend a consistent approach to in-person interviews for the 2021-22 residency cycle; however, recognizing the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and the near certainty, given insufficient national vaccination rates, that the pandemic will continue into the winter, albeit in unpredictable ways, the Working Group offers the following recommendation that we hope will minimize public health risks; mitigate inequity stemming from geographic variations in pandemic impact; and provide applicants, their advisors, and programs with guidance to promote consistency and decrease anxiety.

    Recommendation: All interviews should be conducted virtually for the 2021-22 recruitment cycle due to growing concerns about the delta variant and potential risks and disruptions from potential future variants.

  • Recommendation 2: Increase Our Understanding of Virtual Interviewing

    Recommendation: The medical education community should assess the value of virtual interviews and the concerns associated with them that were evident during the 2020-21 interview cycle.

Acknowledging that these recommendations cannot address every eventuality, they are offered to provide the best path forward to promote consistency and fairness across the country and to reinforce our commitment to an equitable process for all.

ECFMG|FAIMER Storytellers

J-1 Duration of Status Infographic
Click to enlarge

International medical graduates account for about one quarter of all physicians in graduate medical education in the United States. Within that cohort, there are more than 12,500 foreign national physicians, sponsored by ECFMG on the J-1 visa, providing critical health care services and cultural diversity. ECFMG is designated by the U.S. Department of State as the sole BridgeUSA sponsor for J-1 exchange visitor physicians enrolled in accredited programs of graduate medical education or training. During the COVID-19 pandemic, J-1 physicians have played a vital role on health care teams that are stretched to the limit. This is the story of Dr. Shreya Doshi:

Dr. Shreya DoshiName: Dr. Shreya Doshi
Home Country: India
Training Site: Sinai Hospital, Maryland
Specialty: Pediatrics
Journeys in Medicine Blog Post: Is Self-Care on Your To-Do List?

“I wanted to come here because I wanted to pursue training in a different environment, have new experiences, and new training opportunities, and also work with people from a diverse background.”

— Dr. Shreya Doshi

The ECFMG|FAIMER Storytellers series brings the work of ECFMG|FAIMER to life through the stories of the people we serve.

Supplemental ERAS® Application for Internal Medicine, Dermatology, and General Surgery

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has announced that the Electronic Residency Application Service® (ERAS®) is offering a new supplemental application designed to help applicants share more information about themselves. The goal of this additional information is to assist residency programs to better understand how the interests and experiences of applicants fit the program environment and mission. For the ERAS 2022 recruitment cycle, some programs in internal medicine, dermatology, and general surgery may require the supplemental application in addition to the standard MyERAS application.

Through the supplemental application, applicants will be asked to share information about their previous work, volunteer, and research experiences. They also will be asked to provide geographic information and to signal program preferences.

The supplemental application will be open from September 1 to September 30. Responses from applicants who submit the supplemental application by September 19 will be received on September 29 by the programs to which they applied. Responses from applicants who submit the supplemental application from September 20 through September 30 will be received by the programs on October 6.

The supplemental application is free to applicants and programs.

For applicants planning to apply to programs in internal medicine, dermatology, and/or general surgery, ECFMG strongly recommends:

  • Purchasing and registering an ERAS token now, and
  • Saving one or more programs to which they are applying from the participating specialties to their MyERAS application.

This will allow applicants to access the supplemental application when it opens on September 1.

For more information, visit the AAMC’s Supplemental ERAS Application webpage.

ECFMG|FAIMER Storytellers

J-1 Duration of Status Infographic
Click to enlarge

International medical graduates account for about one quarter of all physicians in graduate medical education in the United States. Within that cohort there are more than 12,500 foreign national physicians, sponsored by ECFMG on the J-1 visa, providing critical health care services and cultural diversity. ECFMG is designated by the U.S. Department of State as the sole BridgeUSA sponsor for J-1 exchange visitor physicians enrolled in accredited programs of graduate medical education or training. During the COVID-19 pandemic, J-1 physicians have played a vital role on health care teams that are stretched to the limit. This is the story of Dr. Wail Yar:

Dr. Wail YarName: Dr. Wail Yar
Home Country: Saudi Arabia
Training Site: Cleveland Clinic, Ohio
Specialty: Sleep Medicine
Journeys in Medicine Blog Post: Engineering Medicine Inside Out

“Five years ago, I decided to come to the U.S. to get a better learning experience and high-quality training. During these years I realized that what makes education and training in the U.S. unique is the diversity and inclusions within the community. Accepting your colleagues when you know that they came from a different country, culture, language, and beliefs, is what makes this country’s social fabric outstanding and exceptional.”

— Dr. Wail Yar

The ECFMG|FAIMER Storytellers series brings the work of ECFMG|FAIMER to life through the stories of the people we serve.

Pathway 6 On-line Application Now Open

The on-line application for Pathway 6 is now open. Pathway 6 is for applicants who do not meet the eligibility requirements for Pathway 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 and/or have failed the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®). Pathway 6 requires an applicant’s clinical skills to be evaluated by licensed physicians through in-person clinical encounters.

Detailed information on Pathway 6, including criteria for acceptable clinical encounters, criteria for acceptable evaluators, and instructions for applicants, is available at Pathway 6: Evaluation of Clinical Patient Encounters by Licensed Physicians. Detailed information and instructions for physician evaluators are available at Information for Physician Evaluators for Pathway 6.

About the Pathways

The 2022 Pathways allow qualified IMGs who have not passed the former USMLE Step 2 CS exam to meet the clinical and communication skills requirements for ECFMG Certification and for participation in the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®) 2022 Main Residency Match® (The Match®).

ECFMG’s 2022 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and Application Materials Now Available

ECFMG’s 2022 Information Booklet on ECFMG Certification and the 2022 exam application materials for international medical students/graduates (IMGs) are now available on the ECFMG website. The ECFMG Information Booklet is the definitive source of information on ECFMG Certification and is required reading for applicants.

To be eligible for ECFMG Certification, IMGs must satisfy a number of requirements, including the medical science examination requirement, the clinical skills requirement, and the communication skills requirement.

  • To meet the medical science examination requirement for ECFMG Certification, applicants must pass Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®).
  • To meet the clinical skills requirement and communication skills requirement for ECFMG Certification, applicants must:
    • Complete an ECFMG Pathway, which includes attaining a satisfactory score on the Occupational English Test (OET) Medicine, OR
    • Have earned a passing performance on the former Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component of USMLE that satisfies ECFMG requirements for ECFMG Certification.

Application Materials and USMLE Step 1/Step 2 CK Eligibility Periods

For USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK, applicants can use the 2022 materials to apply for all available eligibility periods ending in 2021 and all eligibility periods ending in 2022, beginning with the November 2021-January 2022 eligibility period.

Please monitor the ECFMG website, and follow ECFMG on Facebook and Twitter for updates and important information.

(published July 28; updated August 11)

Updates to ECFMG|FAIMER Privacy Notice

ECFMG|FAIMER has updated its Privacy Notice, effective August 9, 2021. We made these changes consistent with our continual efforts to provide you with transparency about how we collect, use, and share your Data and to ensure that our Notice accurately describes our current business practices. The changes also are intended to help ensure that our Notice is consistent with evolving best practices and privacy laws.

You can access the revised Notice at https://www.ecfmg.org/annc/privacy.html.

Your continued use of ECFMG|FAIMER programs and services, including websites and mobile apps, on or after the effective date will mean that you accept the changes.

We look forward to continuing to be of service and to protecting the privacy and security of your personal identifying information.

ECFMG’s IWA Unavailable August 10-11

Due to required maintenance, ECFMG’s Interactive Web Applications (IWA) will be unavailable for up to 24 hours, beginning at approximately 6:00 p.m., Eastern Time in the United States, on August 10, 2021.

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, and accessing a USMLE scheduling permit.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work to maintain high-quality on-line services.