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Original Article
February 1998

The International Medical Graduate in US Academic General Surgery

Author Affiliations

From Departments of Surgery, Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, and Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital, Hines, Ill.

Arch Surg. 1998;133(2):130-133. doi:10.1001/archsurg.133.2.130

Objectives  To identify graduates of medical schools outside of the United States who are on academic general surgical faculties in the United States and to determine their contribution to surgery in the United States.

Design  A questionnaire was sent to the departments of general surgery of 128 medical schools and clinics with independent surgical training programs.

Setting  All the departments of surgery affiliated with medical schools and clinics in the United States.

Participants  All department chairpersons of the general surgical services in the United States.

Main Outcome Measure  To identify graduates of foreign medical schools who had their training in the United States, their area of expertise, and their present positions.

Results  One hundred twenty-two (95.3%) of the 128 medical schools and clinics replied to the questionnaire. Of the 122, 108 (88.5%) had at least 1 international medical graduate (IMG) on their faculty; 572 IMGs were identified on the surgical faculty, of which 538 were men and 34 were women. These individuals represent 72 countries or colonies and most continents and regions of the world. Fourteen are or have been department chairpersons. Asia, with 172 medical graduates, contributed the highest number of graduates, followed by North, Central, and South America, with 136 total, and Europe, with 123. India, followed by Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the People's Republic of China, accounts for a large number of the individuals. The states with the most IMGs were California, 78; New York, 75; and Illinois, 42.

Conclusions  International medical graduates account for 10% of the academic surgical faculty in the United States. These graduates come from all countries and regions of the world. International medical graduates occupy faculty positions commensurate with experience. Fourteen are or have been department chairpersons. Since 1960, there has been an increasing number of appointments of IMGs to faculty of the departments of surgery. The results of this survey suggest that the experience of the IMG in US surgery has been quite favorable.