Non-American Doctors In The US

While Medical Spa MD has authors, editors, and Members all around the world, I was struck by this article on how physicians from outside the US are treated when they come into the US.

In Southern California alone, there are an estimated 3,000 medically trained Latino immigrant doctors who aren't practicing medicine.

"We had always wondered, where are the (immigrant) doctors from Latin America?" says Dr. Patrick Dowling, chairman of UCLA's Department of Family Medicine. "And we stumbled upon them working in menial jobs."...

That's why Dowling and his colleague, Dr. Michelle Bholat, have developed a program at UCLA that helps fast-track Latino immigrant doctors into the U.S. health care system, the International Medical Graduate program.

The IMG program provides test prep classes and clinical observations with UCLA doctors. It also covers the cost of the U.S. medical board exam and provides a monthly stipend.

Funded by private donors, the program has helped 66 Latino immigrant doctors pass the board exams and get placed into residency programs in California. In return, the doctors commit to working three years in an underserved area.

Of notable success; this story on a migrant worker who became a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins.

One of his medical school classmates told him no one could pronounce "Alfredo Quinones," and suggested he change his name to Alfred Quinn. Instead, he lengthened his name to Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, honoring his mother's family. It was also in medical school that developed the nickname Dr. Q., which is what his patients still call him today.

It's not just unfortunate that American medicine has become the domain of special interests and protectionist factions, while at the same time disenfranchising main stream American physicians as our friends at Freelance MD can attest. It's a sign of a system that's bouncing along the bottom.

I've had some experience with physicians from outside the US who immegrated and then couldn't get licensed in the US and had to take other work. While there are a lot of countries in which the medical training is not as comprehensive as in the US, the regulation around this leans way to far to the prevention side of the equasion in my opinion.

Is American medicine really the meritocracty that it's held out to be?