Exploring the Challenges for International Medical Graduates Pursuing Minimally Invasive Surgery Training in the United States and Canada: A Cross-Sectional Analysis

Gustavo Romero-Velez, Jorge Humberto Rodriguez-Quintero, Erin Moran-Atkin, Diego L. Lima, Flavio Malcher, Diego R. Camacho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: International Medical Graduates (IMGs) are an important component of the US healthcare workforce. Prior studies have investigated bias against IMGs during the general surgery residency application in the United States. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is a growing field; The MIS fellowship match was established in 2004 and is a competi-tive process with a match rate of 47%. Opportunities for applicants who are non-US citizens are limited by a series of factors that are not related to their professional qualifications. Objectives: The aim of the study was to explore the challenges faced by IMG in the MIS fellowship match. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study analyzing the minimally invasive surgery application requirements of all the programs listed in the Fellowship Council. Individual program requirements were collected into a database and a descriptive analysis was performed com-paring programs who accept IMGs versus those that do not. Further statistical analysis was performed to explore those differences and associated factors. Results: There were 148 MIS fellowship programs and 187 positions offered during the 2021 match year in the US. Ninety-seven programs (65.5%) were found to accept graduates of foreign medical schools if they were US-citi-zens, whereas only 49 programs (33.1%) were found to accept IMG and sponsor a visa for their training. University affiliated programs (88.9% vs 75.0%, p = 0.04), programs with a general surgery residency (94.4% vs 75.0%, p = 0.003), and older programs (63.0% vs 45.5%, p = 0.04) were more likely to accept IMGs requiring visa sponsorship. Conclusions: There is a significant bias against IMGs in the MIS fellowship match, with a reduced number of positions available based on factors not related to their professional performance or qualifications. Well established programs, university, and residency affiliated programs are more likely to consider these physicians for training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021.00084
JournalJournal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Keywords

  • Fellowship match
  • International medical graduates
  • Minimally invasive surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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