Database on foreign med schools in works

The new information source would help state medical boards assess the education IMGs receive.

By Myrle Croasdale — Posted Sept. 4, 2006

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State medical boards evaluating international graduates seeking U.S. licensure often have no real way to ascertain the quality of these physicians' undergraduate medical education and training.

But that is changing.

The Federation of State Medical Boards adopted a policy establishing additional guidelines that state boards should follow when evaluating an IMG's undergraduate training. Among its recommendations is development of a database on international medical schools that would be available to all state boards.

"We are increasingly a global society, and being able to work with our international colleagues and to be able to understand and assess their educational programs is important," said James N. Thompson, MD, FSMB president and CEO.

A working group is being formed to spearhead the database development, but the FSMB did not have a timeline for when it would be completed.

The database will be created in collaboration with the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. Information on international medical schools could include:

  • Number of years open.
  • Amount of Internet-based learning in the curriculum.
  • Status with the Medical Board of California, which does site visits to a limited number of foreign schools.
  • Minimum time required for a student to earn a degree.
  • Location of clinical clerkships.
  • Aggregate U.S. Medical Licensing Examination performance data for graduates.
  • Graduates' job/residency placement rates.

The FSMB report also recommends that state boards make sure that IMGs did clinical clerkships in the same country where they attended medical school or that there is a written agreement between the school and the host hospital.

All clerkships should have comparable standards to those offered by accredited U.S. medical schools.

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