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Acad Med. 2005 Oct;80(10 Suppl):S42-5.

Specialty board certification among U.S. citizen and non-U.S. citizen graduates of international medical schools.

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  • 1Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research, 3624 Market Street, Fourth Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



Graduates of international medical schools (IMGs) make up approximately one-quarter of the physician population and play a key role in the provision of health care in the United States. This study investigated whether they differ from U.S. medical graduates (USMGs) in specialty board certification.


The study compared USMGs, U.S. citizen IMGs (USIMGs), and non-U.S. citizen IMGs (non-USIMGs) who graduated from medical school between 1958 and 1994 and were involved in direct patient care in 2003.


There is variability among the specialties, but overall USMGs have the highest specialty certification rates followed by non-USIMGs, and USIMGs. Among recent medical school graduates, non-USIMGs have certification rates that are comparable to USMGs.


IMGs have lower board-certification rates than USMGs, although a sizeable majority has achieved board certification in the specialty they practice. There are differences between non-USIMGs and USIMGs, with the former more likely to become board certified.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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