ARTICLE: The Assimilation of International Medical Graduates Into the Cardiovascular Workforce

AUTHORS: Arjun KanwalGarima Sharma and Elena Surkova

JOURNAL: JACC. 2020 Mar.

The foregoing quotation holds true in the hearts of many immigrants who often navigate troubled waters in hopes of a better future. Traditionally, international medical graduates (IMGs) have immigrated to United States and the United Kingdom in search of advanced training with state-of-the-art technologies, higher remuneration, and work in an established health care system. IMGs have made enormous contributions to health care of these countries for decades. This group of physicians has an increasingly important role to play in matching the growing ethnic and racial diversity of the 2 countries. In the United States, IMGs make up a formidable 24% of the physician workforce according the American Medical Association (2). The American Association of Medical Colleges data from 2017 show that 40% of interventional cardiologists, 30% of general cardiologists, and 26% of pediatric cardiologists in the United States are IMGs (3). The numbers of IMGs are even higher in the United Kingdom, where they account for approximately 37% of the total physicians in the National Health Services (NHS) (4). In this discussion, we highlight the following: 1) the current and projected physician shortage; 2) the current rigorous standards of selection of IMGs; 3) the justification for better assimilation of IMGs into the fabric of our medical societies; and 4) some systemic barriers to and potential solutions for IMG assimilation into the cardiovascular workforce of these 2 countries (Figure 1).

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