Commentary: Coming to America: the integration of international medical graduates into the American medical culture

Acad Med. 2006 Feb;81(2):176-8. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200602000-00013.


This Commentary is a companion piece to two Research Reports appearing in this issue: "Behavioral Science Education and the International Medical Graduate," by Searight and Gafford, and "International Medical Graduates and the Diagnosis and Treatment of Late-Life Depression," by Kales et al. International medical graduates (IMGs) come to America from diverse cultures around the world to complete their graduate medical education (GME). These residents are and will continue to be a fundamental part of the American health care delivery system. IMGs' acculturation into the norms and standards of medicine as practiced in the U.S. is crucial to their education as well as to quality patient care. The time has come for GME to begin to systematically and effectively address the cultural challenges that IMGs face not only within the context of American medicine and GME, but in the larger context of American culture. Specific programs and strategies need to be developed and put in place early in the GME experience-or even before entry into GME-to assist IMGs in understanding the context for, and issues associated with, providing optimum health care in the United States. The author reflects on the findings of the two Research Reports, and calls for increased attention in the medical education community to acculturating and educating IMGs for optimal patient care.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Foreign Medical Graduates / psychology*
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Internship and Residency*
  • United States