As an international medical graduate (IMG) who has held every academic position, from junior instructor to chairperson of a university department, before retiring to private practice, I would like to comment on the letter by Memon and Memon1 published in the July issue of the ARCHIVES.
International medical graduates, excluding the anglophones (I am not one of them), are not a homogeneous group with reference language understanding and communication skills. Years past IMGs represented a substantial fraction of all anesthesia trainees, sometimes as much as 90% in fact, and I can attest that their language skills were in no way related to either their clinical skills or knowledge and understanding of the basic sciences. However, when looking at the attributes of an academic department chairperson, communication skills are very important—in the minds of some—possibly the most important assets. It would be my guess that once one excludes the 50% of IMGs who cannot communicate then the quoted 8.8% looks very good indeed.
Boba A. International Medical Graduates. Arch Surg. 1998;133(12):1369. doi: