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Resident Forum
March 25, 1998

International Medical Graduates and Others Invited to Join the AMA-IMG Section

Author Affiliations

Prepared by Ashish Bajaj, Department of Resident Physician Services, American Medical Association.

JAMA. 1998;279(12):906I. doi:10.1001/jama.279.12.906
International Medical Graduates and Others Invited to Join the AMA-IMG Section

The American Medical Association (AMA) took a big step forward last year in its efforts to better represent the interests of international medical graduates (IMGs) by forming an IMG Section. This new AMA section complements earlier sections, representing medical students, resident physicians, young physicians, medical school deans, and hospital and managed care medical staff. AMA members can join the IMG Section and still remain members of another section. I encourage all of the 25000 IMG residents in the United States to join our new section.

The formation of the IMG Section testifies to the commitment of the IMG community, within organized medicine, as well as to organized medicine's reciprocal commitment to IMGs. For over 8 years, the AMA has had an IMG Advisory Committee that served as a sounding board for the AMA Board of Trustees on issues of concern to IMG physicians. Two years ago, the Advisory Committee was charged with developing a long-term platform that would address the concerns of IMG physicians and enhance AMA membership among this critical segment of US physicians. At the AMA's 1996 Interim Meeting, the IMG delegates to the AMA House of Delegates (HOD) were able to galvanize support for the formation of the AMA's IMG Section. This past June, at the AMA's Annual Meeting, the HOD adopted language providing for the section's governance structure and mission. The IMG Section will introduce resolutions directly to the HOD, which for the first time secures an open mechanism for IMGs (who represent 23% of all US physicians) to influence the policy and initiatives of the AMA.

This access has generated much of the excitement and support for the IMG Section. The section will embrace the full participation of the various ethnic medical associations—our key constituency—and will seek to address the key issues for all IMG physicians: access to residencies, workforce planning, and discrimination within the practice environment (licensure, credentialing, and managed care).

The AMA Board of Trustees appointed the IMG Section's first Governing Council last June. I, along with the other members of the Council, will serve until this June, after which we will be succeeded by an elected council. The election process began in December with the selection of a nominating committee chosen by those attending the 1997 Interim Meeting in Dallas. A ballot will be mailed early in the spring of 1998 to all IMG Section members, who will each vote for 7 candidates. The 7 candidates receiving the most votes will form the Governing Council, and from this group the IMG Section Assembly will select the Council's officers for 1998-1999.

The IMG Section membership process is somewhat unusual, in that all 40000 AMA member physicians who are IMGs do not automatically become IMG Section members. The section is open to any interested AMA member, but that person must choose to be part of the section. Non-AMA members may also join the section provisionally for 1 year, but then must join the AMA to remain IMG Section members. We also encourage US medical graduates who are interested in IMG issues to join.

As with all the other AMA Sections, the IMG Section will meet prior to the HOD. For the 1998 Annual Meeting those dates are Friday and Saturday, June 12 to 13. The tentative schedule includes a reference committee hearing on Friday evening, and an Assembly meeting of the IMG Section on Saturday evening, where section members in attendance will vote on the reports and resolutions. We expect that most IMG Section members will not be able to attend our Assembly meetings, therefore our final agenda and all reports and resolutions, as well as their disposition, will be posted before and after the meeting to the IMG Section Web page on the AMA Web site: http://www.ama-assn.org/IMGS. Section members wishing to introduce resolutions for the Assembly to consider at the meeting may fax these to the AMA Department of IMG Services at (312) 464-5845.

Your interest and participation is critical to our humble endeavor, and I encourage you to join the IMG Section by calling the Department of IMG Services at (312) 464-5728 or copying the membership form off of our Web page.