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May 17, 1976

Foreign Medical Graduates and the Nobel Prize

Author Affiliations

University of Washington Seattle

JAMA. 1976;235(20):2191. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260460015009

To the Editor.—  During the last couple of years, leading American journals have lamented the poor education and training of foreign medical graduates.1-4 The superior accomplishments of American medical science is also attested to in the large number of Nobel prizes awarded US citizens in medicine and physiology (35 laureates since the end of World War II). But, surprisingly, 13 (36%) of these awards went to naturalized citizens, who had received the major part of their scientific education on foreign soil, mostly central Europe (Encyclopaedia Britannica and recent press releases). Furthermore, at least two Americanborn laureates (Watson and Ward) went to Europe for special training and research.Admittedly, most of these Nobel laureates were not practicing physicians, but biochemists and physiologists not subjected to the ubiquitous Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) examinations and Federation Licensure Examinations (FLEX), which reflect American curricula, norms, and proficiency in English. Regardless,