International Medical Graduates in the Pediatric Workforce in the United States

Pediatrics. 2020 Dec;146(6):e2020003301. doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-003301. Epub 2020 Nov 5.


Background and objectives: To describe the supply, distribution, and characteristics of international medical graduates (IMGs) in pediatrics who provide patient care in the United States.

Methods: Cross-sectional study, combining data from the 2019 Physician Masterfile of the American Medical Association and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates database.

Results: In total, 92 806 pediatric physicians were identified, comprising 9.4% of the entire US physician workforce. Over half are general pediatricians. IMGs account for 23.2% of all general pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists. Of all IMGs in pediatrics, 22.1% or 4775 are US citizens who obtained their medical degree outside the United States or Canada, and 15.4% (3246) attended medical school in the Caribbean. Fifteen non-US medical schools account for 29.9% of IMGs currently in active practice in pediatrics in the United States. IMGs are less likely to work in group practice or hospital-based practice and are more likely to be employed in solo practice (compared with US medical school graduates).

Conclusions: With this study, we provide an overview of the pediatric workforce, quantifying the contribution of IMGs. Many IMGs are US citizens who attend medical school abroad and return to the United States for postgraduate training. Several factors, including the number of residency training positions, could affect future numbers of IMGs entering the United States. Longitudinal studies are needed to better understand the implications that workforce composition and distribution may have for the care of pediatric patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Foreign Medical Graduates / supply & distribution*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Physicians / supply & distribution*
  • Schools, Medical*
  • United States
  • Workforce / statistics & numerical data*