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Resident's Forum
March 2013

General Surgery Residency After Graduation From US Medical SchoolsVisa-Related Challenges for the International Citizen

JAMA Surg. 2013;148(3):292-294. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.1365

International–United States medical graduates (I-USMGs) are non–US citizen graduates of US medical schools. Although academically equivalent to US-citizen peers, they are subject to the same visa requirements as non–US citizen international medical graduates. We hypothesized that visa sponsorship policies of general surgery programs (GSPs) may be discordant with the enrollment patterns of I-USMGs. A total of 196 GSPs participated in a telephone survey regarding visa sponsorship policies. Whereas GSPs preferred J-1 to H-1B sponsorship (64.2% vs 32.6%), I-USMG enrollment favored programs supporting H-1B sponsorship (72.1% vs 7.5%) (P = .01). University-affiliated programs were more likely to sponsor H1-Bs than independent programs (39.6% vs 24.4%) (P = .03) and trained a greater proportion of I-USMGs than independent programs (40.6% vs 14.0%) (P < .01). Restrictive policies against H-1B sponsorship may limit GSPs' I-USMG applicant pool and restrict I-USMGs' surgical training options.