The contribution of international medical graduates to diversity in the U.S. physician workforce: graduate medical education

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2008 May;19(2):493-9. doi: 10.1353/hpu.0.0015.


Purpose: To describe the ethnicity/race and gender distribution of the international medical graduates (IMGs) qualified to enter graduate medical education (GME) and those who are actually in GME.

Methods: The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) database and the American Medical Association's Masterfile provided ethnicity/race and gender data for the pool of IMGs qualified to enter GME (ECFMG certificants from 2000-2005) and those in GME in 2005. Data for U.S. medical graduates come from Association of American Medical Colleges' publications.

Results: Compared with USMGs, both the pool of available IMGs and those in graduate training have a larger percentage of Asians and Hispanics, a lower percentage of Blacks and American Indian/Pacific Islanders, and a much lower percentage of Whites. The groups had comparable percentages of women.

Conclusions: International medical graduates provide much-needed diversity in GME. Since most IMGs remain in the U.S. after training, this diversity can lead to a richer training environment, increased access to health care, and better health care outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Workforce / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Racial Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States