In this first of a two-part series, we examine the implications of international medical graduates (IMGs) in hospital medicine groups, and explore how hospitalist group leaders can improve communications and integrate them into their medicine teams. Part 2 will feature stories from hospitalist IMGs as they establish themselves as professionals in their communities.
International medical graduates (IMGs) comprise 25% of the total U.S. physician workforce.1 Despite post-9/11 barriers to immigration, the number of IMGs entering internal medical residencies has risen in recent years.
In 2006, more than 6,500 physicians who graduated medical school in foreign countries entered accredited residency programs, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. U.S.-born residents who have attended medical school in another country account for approximately 25% of the total IMGs in training.
Further, the proportion of foreign-educated residents who will go into primary care is higher than for U.S. medical graduates. In 2006, 50% of the physicians training in internal medicine residency programs were IMGs.
What do these trends mean for hospital medicine? In light of projected physician shortages IMGs will continue to be a vital part of the physician workforce.2 Because internal medicine is a primary feeder of hospital medicine, it’s likely many hospital medicine programs will also continue to see an increase in hospitalists who are IMGs.