More than 7,000 international medical graduates (IMGs) obtained first-year residency positions in U.S. programs of graduate medical education (GME), according to results of the 2020 Main Residency Match® announced Friday by the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP®). On July 1 these physicians are scheduled to join teaching hospitals across the nation, where they will engage in medical specialty training and provide supervised patient care. They will join the U.S. physician workforce during a national health care crisis.
"Comprising approximately one-quarter of our active physicians, IMGs are critical to meeting our nation's health care needs, including the current health care crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," said ECFMG|FAIMER President & CEO William W. Pinsky, M.D. "We need every one of these qualified physicians to join their U.S. training programs on time, and we are working aggressively to address any obstacles, such as immigration or travel restrictions, that would prevent these newly matched physicians from bringing their skills and talents to bear on the current crisis."
IMGs practice in high numbers in medically underserved areas and in primary-care specialties. Friday's Match results are consistent with the trends for IMGs to join primary-care specialties, such as Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics—front-line providers in the fight against the current COVID-19 crisis.
The number of IMGs who matched at 7,376 represents an increase of 351 over last year's Match. Of the 7,376 IMGs who matched, 3,154 are U.S. citizens and 4,222 are citizens of other nations. Sixty-one percent of IMG applicants were selected by U.S. GME programs in the highly competitive Match process, the highest IMG match rate in 30 years. An infographic on IMG performance in the 2020 Match can be found here.
Before they enter U.S. GME, IMGs are assessed by ECFMG®, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. ECFMG's program for certifying IMGs is a rigorous process that includes passing components of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®), the same examinations required of U.S. medical school students and graduates. As part of the certification process, ECFMG verifies the authenticity of IMGs' medical education credentials, including their medical diplomas, directly with the issuing medical schools. Only IMGs who are certified by ECFMG can enter U.S. GME programs.