April 26, 2014

No More IMGs for Residency Training Programs in the USA After 2015 - JAMA

By 2015, the number of graduates from US medical schools is expected to surpass the number of positions in residency programs. Going with the trend of preference by US Residency Programs given to US Medical Graduates, it will become nearly impossible for IMGs to get into US GME Programs.

Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA)

IMGs play an important role in US Healthcare system. Currently, one-quarter of all physicians practicing in the United States and 10% to 15% of trainees in residency programs are IMGs.

In the past few years new US medical schools were setup and already present increased their enrollment due to anticipated shortage of physicians that was feared in coming years. Because of these efforts, US medical students’ enrollments increased consistently from 2010 forward and are expected to reach 26 709 per year by 2016-2017 which equals a 37% increase if compared to figures of 2002-2003.

PGY-1 US Residency program slots however didn’t increase with the same pace as compared to US medical school’s enrollments.

In 2011 alone there were 26 386 PGY-1 positions in Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)–accredited programs out of which only 4 829 were filled by IMGs mostly in primary care, a fall of 0.3% since 2010.

Although many community hospitals rely on IMGs for the care of under served areas and population. Keeping in view the new law of Affordable Care Act and non-willingness of US Seniors to go into primary care it will become more difficult for such programs to fill all of their spots for PGY-1 spots.

A study done by Annals of Family Medicine last month also predicted that US will be needing more than 52,000 new primary-care doctors by 2025. But will that be IMGs or AMGs, that only future will decide.

The rapidly increasing number of US medical school graduates coupled with a constrained graduate medical education system will most likely effect the number of IMGs that will be matched to US residency programs in future Residency Matches.

1). JAMA. 2012;308(21):2193-2194. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.14681 by Giovanni Traverso, MB, BChir, PhD; Graham T. McMahon, MD, MMSc

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