The ECFMG(r) Reporter
An E-Newsletter for International Medical Graduates Pursuing Graduate
Medical Education in the United States
Issue 161 - September 22, 2010
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IN THIS ISSUE:
- ECFMG TO REQUIRE MEDICAL SCHOOL ACCREDITATION FOR INTERNATIONAL
MEDICAL SCHOOL GRADUATES SEEKING CERTIFICATION BEGINNING IN 2023
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ECFMG TO REQUIRE MEDICAL SCHOOL ACCREDITATION FOR INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL
SCHOOL GRADUATES SEEKING CERTIFICATION BEGINNING IN 2023
The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG(r)) has
announced that, effective in 2023, physicians applying for ECFMG
Certification will be required to graduate from a medical school that
has been appropriately accredited. To satisfy this requirement, the
physician's medical school must be accredited through a formal process
that uses criteria comparable to those established for U.S. medical
schools by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or that
uses other globally accepted criteria, such as those put forth by the
World Federation for Medical Education (WFME).
Unlike in the United States and Canada, where LCME and the Committee on
Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) set standards for,
evaluate, and accredit medical schools and programs, there are no
universally accepted standards for evaluating undergraduate medical
education internationally. An accreditation system comprised of rigorous
standards and procedures helps ensure quality medical education, and
quality medical education leads to quality health care. The ECFMG Board
of Trustees has determined that it can enhance its protection of the
public by incorporating medical school accreditation using globally
accepted criteria into ECFMG's requirements for certification of
international medical graduates (IMGs). Recognizing, however, that the
efficacy of such a requirement depends on a universally accepted
accreditation process, which does not currently exist, this requirement
is not scheduled to take effect until 2023.
ECFMG's Board believes that this additional requirement for ECFMG
Certification, and the timing of its implementation, will catalyze
efforts to develop a formal accreditation process for international
medical education that utilizes globally accepted criteria. While it is
unlikely that a single entity would have the resources needed to
accredit the world's 2,000 operating international medical schools, a
viable model envisions evaluation and recognition by an internationally
accepted organization, such as WFME, of the various bodies that accredit
international medical schools. Such a process will have the effect of
harmonizing accreditation standards, and creating a meaningful
international accreditation system that will improve the quality of
medical education and health care worldwide.
In the United States, IMGs comprise one-quarter of the physician
workforce. ECFMG Certification is a prerequisite for IMGs to enter the
U.S. health care system. ECFMG's decision to require medical school
accreditation as a requirement for ECFMG Certification is a significant
step in its continuing efforts to enhance protection of the public. It
will also advance ECFMG's overall mission of promoting excellence in
international medical education.
ABOUT ECFMG AND ECFMG CERTIFICATION
ECFMG is a private, nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Its organizational members are the American Board of
Medical Specialties; American Medical Association; Association of
American Medical Colleges; Association for Hospital Medical
Education; Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States,
Inc.; and the National Medical Association.
For more than 50 years, ECFMG has promoted quality health care for the
public by certifying IMGs for entry into U.S. graduate medical education
(GME). ECFMG and its organizational members define an IMG as a physician
who received his/her basic medical degree or qualification from a
medical school located outside the United States and Canada. Through its
program of IMG certification, ECFMG assesses whether these physicians
are ready to enter U.S. GME; ECFMG Certification is a requirement for
IMGs who wish to enter such programs. ECFMG Certification is also one of
the eligibility requirements for IMGs to take Step 3 of the United
States Medical Licensing Examination(r) (USMLE(r)). Medical licensing
authorities in the United States require ECFMG Certification, among
other requirements, for IMGs to obtain an unrestricted license to
practice medicine.
In addition to its primary mission of certifying international medical
graduates, ECFMG offers a variety of other programs and services to
physicians educated abroad and other members of the international
medical education, regulatory, and research communities.
For more information on ECFMG, including a background document on the
new accreditation requirement titled "Requiring Medical School
Accreditation for ECFMG Certification-Moving Accreditation Forward,"
visit the ECFMG website at www.ecfmg.org/accreditation.
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ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
As an organization, ECFMG is committed to providing information on
issues of importance to international medical graduates. We realize that
many individuals would like updated information on developing issues
related to ECFMG Certification and entry into graduate medical education
in the United States. As a result, ECFMG has developed The ECFMG(r)
Reporter to provide international medical graduates worldwide with
timely, objective information on current topics of interest. It is our
hope that this newsletter will allow physicians educated outside the
United States and Canada to make informed choices on issues that shape
their careers.
Previous issues of The ECFMG(r) Reporter are available on the ECFMG
website. Subsequent issues will be posted to the ECFMG website as they
are published. To access previous issues, visit the ECFMG website at
www.ecfmg.org/reporter/.
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We hope you find these updates helpful. Thank you for your interest in
ECFMG.