A Further Examination of Previous and Future Policy Opportunities of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates

Acad Med. 2019 Jul;94(7):934-936. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002676.


The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) has a distinguished history of providing high-quality, innovative products and services to international medical graduates (IMGs) seeking to study and practice medicine in the United States. In 2010, the ECFMG board introduced a policy stating that, starting in 2023, all IMGs applying to the ECFMG for credentialing must have graduated from a medical school that has been accredited by an internationally recognized accrediting body akin to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in the United States or the World Federation for Medical Education. In this issue of Academic Medicine, Tackett reviews the reasons for the policy and its adoption worldwide. After eight years, the number of schools meeting the new standard is modest. He is concerned about the negative effect a continuing low rate of adoption will have on U.S. postgraduate medical education programs and workforce supply. The author of this Invited Commentary offers three perspectives: an overview of the ECFMG's successes, alternative measurement tools to ensure the quality of IMGs entering the United States, and frameworks by which an organization like the ECFMG can refine its policy positions and processes for the future. Academia can expect the ECFMG, given its history of successful collaboration and public accountability, to continue using best practices and to adjust policies according to evidence. As a publicly accountable authority, the ECFMG should debrief key stakeholders on current policies, track IMG practice patterns, and share the resulting data with stakeholders to inform their IMG-related planning decisions.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation
  • Certification
  • Education, Medical*
  • Foreign Medical Graduates*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Schools, Medical
  • United States