Ahmad B. International Medical Graduates and Others Invited to Join the AMA-IMG Section. JAMA. 1998;279(12):906I. doi:10.1001/jama.279.12.906
Prepared by Ashish Bajaj, Department of Resident Physician Services,
American Medical Association.
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
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.