Migration of doctors for undergraduate medical education

Med Teach. 2007 Mar;29(2-3):98-105. doi: 10.1080/01421590701268723.


Background: Global shortages of healthcare workers in both developed and developing countries are of great concern. Research on physician migration typically focuses on medical school graduates, most often those seeking postgraduate training opportunities elsewhere.

Description: An overview of medical school migration patterns is presented in this paper. To put this phenomenon into the broader context of global physician migration, data is also presented on the distribution of medical schools, physician density, the flow of international medical graduates to the US, and the present composition of the US physician workforce.

Results: Results of the study indicate that many individuals leave their home country for undergraduate medical education.

Conclusions: Given the movement of students and physicians, both for medical school and for advanced training opportunities, it is evident that some medical schools in the world are training doctors for their home country as well as for the international labor market. Overall, given the internationalization of medical education, collaborative efforts will be needed to develop an adequate, balanced, and well-trained global physician workforce.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Foreign Medical Graduates
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Physicians*
  • Professional Practice
  • Schools, Medical
  • United States