What a residency director told me...
by Georgie (no login)

I find it difficult to get quality information about medical school admissions, residency, and the pro's and con's of going off-shore on the Internet. I took a bold step Thursday and spoke with a residency director of a Family Practice program here in Texas. I told her that I was premed and considering going off-shore. I think that others on this forum might find her comments helpful...

First my stats: I'm 33, married (twice), two children. I work in sales. My mother is a retired RN. I have a BA from a state school and have been chipping away at my premedical requirements over the last 3 years. I took the MCAT before finishing Orgo (a mistake)and did poorly (7,7,8). After our conversation, I've decided to only apply to US medical schools (MD and DO). Here's why:

1) According to this residency director, the AMA is getting together with other groups to issue a formal position paper on medical education. The paper will be read at a conference for college premedical advisors and strongly discourage premeds from applying off-shore.

2) This director has accepted USFMG's from a variety of schools (mostly Ross and St. Georges'). They look for solid applicants with good interview skills, good board scores, good rotations, and good letters of rec. Just like their US graduates, they've had good residents and bad ones. But, a proposal is being kicked around by organizations that accredit residency programs that would penalize programs for every IMG they take. The main thrust of this action is to limit residency programs and cut back on slots. She believes that when and if this proposal takes effect, several residency programs will close.

3) She likes DO's! The program interviews and accepts DO's every year. They especially like having DO's around who do some manipulation, because 20% of what family doctors see includes orthopedic/musculoskeletal injuries of some sort. They've had DO residents who have done manipulation workshops for other residents and she's learned a little herself. There are several DO's at the hospital that sponsors the residency program and even some specialists.

4) Being bilingual is a definite plus! In recent years their program has taken emigrated students from South America who have ECFMG. Some of these residents were actually full physicians in their own country before coming here but must do a US residency all over again. They are bright, highly skilled and motivated individuals. In fact, if proposals to penalize programs that take FMG's goes into effect, USFMG's will have an added competitor...the non-US FMG.

Anyway, that is what I learned. It's only one woman's opinion, but it gave me room to think.

Posted on Jan 23, 2000, 8:25 AM
from IP address 129.120.98.6

Good Info, But................
by Lawyer (no login)

What this residency director told you is nothing new. The AMA has been trying to cut the flow of Us FMGs ever since the creation of the off-shore medical schools. However, they have been runing up against legal challenges. As a matter of fact, the US Department of Justice fined the AMA several hundered thousand dollars a few years ago for similar attempts. Furthermore, most, if not all, residency programs get their residency funding from Part "B" of Medicare program. Under federal law, no residency program may directly or indirectly discriminate against applicants for post-graduate medical education. This includes FMG status. If they do, they will risk losing their Medicare funding. And they don't want that, believe me!

I never liked the off-shore schools. I think you should go to a US school if you can. But this is a complicated legal issue that requires legislative change, if FMG slots are cut in any measurable degree. The AMA and its various organizations can't do it by themesleves. They have tried in the past; I'm sure they will try in the future.

Good Luck!!!!!

Posted on Jan 23, 2000, 9:43 AM
from IP address 209.154.58.25

My situation
by Anonymous (no login)

What do you think of my situation?
I will be attending AUC in a few months. I can speak Chinese and I am a Chiropractor. According to your post, being able to manipulate and being able to speak another language is a bonus. Therefore do you think that if the proposal goes through, would I still have a pretty good chance of getting a residency in the US and being able to practice in California?

Posted on Jan 23, 2000, 6:50 PM
from IP address 209.239.198.16

Pretty Unique, Could be More So
by Missionary Doc (no login)

Aim your arrows well. Target residencies that have large Chinese speaking populations. Also, have you considered China for med school? If you leave an e-mail I can send you a list of 8 excellent ones that will accept foreigners.

Posted on Jan 23, 2000, 7:27 PM
from IP address 128.11.103.12

Untitled
by Anonymous (no login)

Dont consider China if you want to practice in us

Posted on Jan 24, 2000, 2:12 PM
from IP address 132.177.163.231

Are you a residency director?
by Missionary Doc (no login)

Are you a residency director giving this opinion, are you exhibiting racism, or just spouting words without knowledge? I have seen residencies with IMGs, but only from places like Europe, China, and the like.

Posted on Jan 24, 2000, 7:21 PM
from IP address 128.11.103.12

My stats
by DO MS1 (no login)

I am a first year osteopathic medical student.
My stats were:

3.53 Overall
3.58 Science
27 MCAT (9V 9B 9P, don't remember writing sample, like it matters )

Some of my classmates are higher and some are lower.

You have a real good shot (depending on what year. Applications are down now at both MD and DO schools) if you have a 25 MCAT and above a 3.3 overall GPA. Your overall could be a little lower if you have a high science GPA and/or clinical experience.

One thing that no one ever seems to mention here is that DO schools tend not to pick the usual "cookie-cutter" applicants. There are a ton of former health care people in my class including a veterinarian, psychologist, PHD, nurses, EMTs, PAs etc. Even extra volunteering or other hospital experience can help you.

By the way, the stats got me interviews at a few MD schools in addition to a few DO schools, but not everyone was banging my door down.

Make NO MISTAKE about it though. Once you ARE in, you have to work as hard as anyone in an MD school, plus you have OMM to do too. DO schools overall tend to be less research oriented though, so there is give and take. I was not all that interested in research so it made no difference to me. Also, I did not care about having MD after my name, I just wanted to practice medicine. Yes, sometimes it is frustrating to have to explain to people that you are indeed a fully licensed physician able to practice in all specialties, not just family practice with OMM or whatever. But, down in the Caribbean you have to explain that to people too (maybe not years later though). It makes no difference how you get there if you want to practice medicine. Just do what you can do. Be prepared to study HARD. It is a lot harder to be in medical school than I EVER thought. Getting in is just half the battle, but a huge obstacle. I wish you all (at least the normal ones out there) the best of luck.



Posted on Jan 12, 2000, 12:32 PM
from IP address 152.167.100.70

Did she tell you...
by need help (no login)

...If ALL foreign med schools are going to be excluded? I'm a Canadian who's planning to go to the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in the fall. My plan is to get a residency in the United States after that. Is this a good plan, or is it too risky? As a non-U.S. FMG, would I stand a chance of getting a residency? My main interest is psychiatry, and I've learned that it's not too hard to get, compared with other residencies. Thanks for any reply.

Posted on Jan 23, 2000, 7:01 PM
from IP address 165.154.229.58

Psychiatry is a pretty easy one to get. So not to much concern. The problem with getting residencies as a Non-U.S. FMG isn't so much the school, but the visa you have to obtain. The government usually make you sweat it out for a very long time. I have a close friend that went to the University of Toronto and has been trying to come over here and can't because of visa complications. Either which way you cut it, you're taking a risk. But at least you're going to a good school. I would imagine if you could get in there, you could get into a U.S. school. I did, and I too was planning to go either to RCSI or Flinders, but no longer.

Take care and good luck!

Posted on Jan 23, 2000, 9:52 PM
from IP address 12.76.115.150

Untitled
by Anonymous (no login)

Thanks for the advice. Just to clarify something: When you say "here", where is that? I didn't catch the location and nationality of you and your friend. Are you saying your friend is an American who went to UofT med school and can't return to the States? Sorry to be so confused, but I just want to be clear on what you're getting at. My plan is to train in Ireland, then do a residency in the States, and possibly live in the States. Are you saying that visa problems would prevent me from practising in the States or in Canada or both? Thanks for any explanation.

Posted on Jan 23, 2000, 10:20 PM
from IP address 165.154.229.58

Let me Clarify
by Anonymous (no login)

Sorry for the confusion. My friend is a Canadian citizen, born, raised, and medically educated there. Even with the open border policy we share with Canada, it is still very difficult for him to get visa approval to practice medicine in the United States. I don't know how the Canadian system works, but if you are familiar with the Canadian health care system, you would understand why so many of their doctors want to come here to the States. It is difficult enough to try and obtain residency in the States as an FMG. But it can be done and thousands of foreign grads do it every year. However, being a non-U.S. citizen FMG only complicates things even more and makes it that much more difficult.

Best of luck. Here is some advise though. You will need to be 3 steps ahead of everybody else. Before you leave for Ireland, in case you haven't done it already, familiarize yourself with ALL the requirements needed to establish residency in the U.S. or Canada as an FMG. Especially as a non citizen FMG. Keep track of all the deadlines of testing dates, visa applications, etc...And be ready to go (I mean have the envelopes sealed, stamped and addressed MONTHS in advance!).

Take Care.

Posted on Jan 24, 2000, 4:22 AM
from IP address 12.76.66.136

Thanks again
by Anonymous (no login)

Thank you so much for the advice. I was wondering if you could clarify something else: A friend told me that if I go the foreign route (whether Ireland or elsewhere), I would need to achieve extremely high scores on the USMLE exams (higher than most US students) if I ever hoped to get a residency. In your experience, do you agree with this? It seems like an exaggeration to me. I might start a new thread with this question, to poll the forum contributors. I appreciate your advice.

Posted on Jan 24, 2000, 10:29 AM
from IP address 165.154.229.70

Untitled
by Anonymous (no login)

Whether foreign or U.S., if you want to get the residency of your choice, it is important that you achieve high USMLE scores. Let that be your motivation for doing well on the boards, not the fear of having to be as competetive as U.S. students. ALL MEDICAL STUDENTS FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC HAVE TO DO WELL ON THE USMLE.

I will say that on the average, foreign students do worse on the boards compared to U.S. students. But that shouldn't mean too much. People seem to have the impression that all U.S. schools cater to the boards, and that is a false assumption. A little advise, purchase a USMLE review book now (First Aid for the USMLE Boards, is a real good one). Then as you go through your basic sciences, when ever you have the chance, summers, vacations, etc...parallel your notes with that of the review book to stay on top of things. This is good advise even for U.S. students. I wouldn't worry about scoring extremely high, you just have to be competetive as anybody else. Of course, because you're an FMG, it would CERTAINLY help your situation if you score high. You always have to be a step ahead of the game and be really on top of things. If you're organized, motivated, and can learn to put up with the B.S., you will SURVIVE. It is all about fulfilling the DREAM!! Just keep that in mind. Best of Luck to you.


Posted on Jan 24, 2000, 8:18 PM
from IP address 12.76.115.219

Be Careful
by 1hungStud (no login)

I read that Foreign docs have to get credentials from their own governments before they can do post grad med training in the US. Canada has some screwy rules when it comes to allowing it's citizens to go to the US for residency. Check this out before you do it as you will probably encounter this problem when you try to get a visa.



Posted on Jan 31, 2000, 11:09 PM
from IP address 63.27.194.251