AMA Policies Relevant to J-1 and Visas Immigration
H-255.975 J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (J-1 Visa)
Policy of the AMA states: the purpose of the physician J-1 Visa Exchange Program is to ameliorate physician specialty shortages in other countries; and the AMA will work to correct the problems of inconsistency, lack of accountability, and non-compliance in the administration of the physician J-1 Visa Exchange Program identified in the December 1996 General Accounting Office publication Foreign Physicians: Exchange Visitor Program Becoming Major Route to Practicing in Underserved Areas (GAO/HEHS-97-26). (CME Rep. 2, A-97)
H-255.989 A Program for Exchange Visitor Physicians
(1) It is the AMA's policy to separate the issues involved in the support of alien physicians participating in exchange visitor physician programs for purposes of education, training and/or research followed by return to their native lands from the issues involving U.S. citizens who are graduates of foreign medical schools and alien physician graduates of foreign medical schools who seek permanent residence in the United States. (2) The AMA urges government and private funding of the physician exchange visitor program under the auspices of an appropriate organization that will: consider the range and type of medical education and health care needs of those foreign nations sending exchange visitor physicians; the means to evaluate the level of knowledge and needs of prospective participants in graduate medical education programs; and identify truly outstanding public health, geographic medicine, basic medical science, and clinical training programs to answer the needs of the visitor's native land. (Res. 107, I-85; Reaffirmed by CLRPD Rep. 2, I-95)
H-255.995 Foreign Medical Graduates
The AMA believes that (1) preferential immigration policies for foreign medical graduates should be terminated and existing immigration laws should be enforced more strictly; and (2) reduced requirements for licensure should not be applied under any circumstances to graduates of foreign medical schools. (Res. 23, A-82; Reaffirmed: CLRPD Rep. A, I-92)
H-255.986 Foreign Medical Graduates in Residency Programs
The AMA continues to support the position that those foreign medical graduates who plan to return to their country of origin have the opportunity to obtain graduate medical education in the U.S. (Res. 114, A-86; Reaffirmed: Sunset Report, I-96)
H-255.991 Education for Foreign Physicians
After reviewing the past and present status of medical education for physicians of other countries, the AMA adopts the following statement: (1) Medical education in the U.S., consistent with available resources, should recognize and respond to the unique needs of foreign physicians and the environment in which they practice. (2) A first priority for the improvement of medical education in all countries should be directed toward the development of opportunities for medical education at all levels, undergraduate, graduate, remedial, and continuing, within the system of medical education existing in the individual foreign nation or region. (3) U.S. physicians, when resources are available, should be encouraged to contribute to medical education conducted in other countries at the undergraduate, graduate, remedial and continuing levels. (4) The accredited residency program directed toward practice within the U.S. is an educational modality which should be limited to foreign physicians who can be expected to apply what they have learned in the U.S. to the education or practice needs of their own country. (5) Recognition should be afforded graduate programs, tailored to the individual needs of the foreign physicians not involving significant responsibility for the care of patients, and thus obviating the need for foreign physicians, otherwise qualified, to pass the Visa Qualifying Examination. (6) Opportunities for exchange visitor programs of all types pertaining to the improvement of medical education should be compiled and made available to both foreign physicians and U.S. physicians who may have an interest in participating in such programs. (7) Since continuing medical education is of universal importance, efforts to make educational materials available on an even wider basis, such as the foreign language editions of JAMA, deserve commendation. (CME Rep. C, I-85; Modified by CLRPD Rep. 2, I-95)
H-255.974 Preservation of Opportunities for US Graduates and International Medical Graduates Already Legally Present in the US
In the event of reductions in the resident workforce, the AMA will advocate for a mechanism of resident selection which promotes the maintenance of resident physician training opportunities for all qualified graduates of United States Liaison Committee on Medical Education and American Osteopathic Association accredited institutions; and the AMA adopts the position that it will be an advocate for IMGs already legally present in this country. (Res. 324, A-97; Reaffirmed: CME Rep. 10, A-99)
H-255.988 Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Foreign Medical Graduates
(1) The AMA reaffirms its support of current U.S. visa and immigration requirements applicable to foreign national physicians who are graduates of medical schools other than those in the United States and Canada.
(2) The AMA continues to support current regulations governing the issuance of exchange visitor visas to foreign national FMGs, including the requirements for successful completion of the FMGEMS.
(3) The AMA reaffirms its policy that the U.S. and Canada medical schools be accredited by a nongovernmental accrediting body.
(4) The AMA continues to support cooperation in the collection and analysis of information on medical schools in nations other than the U.S. and Canada.
(5) The AMA supports continued cooperation with the ECFMG and other appropriate organizations to disseminate information to prospective and current students in foreign medical schools. This information should be related to the structure and requirements of the U.S. system of medical education and patient care.
(6) The AMA continues to support working with the ECFMG and other appropriate organizations in developing effective methods to evaluate the clinical skills of FMGs.
(7) The AMA bly supports the policy that the core clinical curriculum of a foreign medical school should be provided by that school and that U.S. hospitals should not provide substitute core clinical experience for students attending a foreign medical school.
(8) The AMA continues to support working with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
(ACGME) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) to assure that institutions offering accredited residencies, residency program directors, and U.S. licensing authorities do not deviate from established standards when evaluating graduates of foreign medical schools.
(9) The AMA, in cooperation with the ACGME and the FSMB, supports only those modifications in established graduate medical education or licensing standards designed to enhance the quality of medical education and patient care.
(10) The AMA continues to support the activities of the ECFMG related to verification of education credentials and testing of FMGs.
(11) Special consideration should be given to the limited number of FMGs who are refugees from foreign governments that refuse to provide pertinent information usually required to establish eligibility for residency training or licensure.
(12) The AMA reaffirms its existing policy supporting the use of accreditation standards to enhance the quality of patient care and medical education. Also the AMA opposes the use of such standards for purposes of regulating physician manpower.
(13) AMA representatives to the ACGME, residency review committees and to the ECFMG should support AMA policy opposing discrimination. In particular, these AMA representatives should emphasize that AMA policy does not prohibit the appointment of qualified graduates of foreign medical schools to residency training programs.
(14) A study should be considered to determine the current status of ECFMG certified FMGs who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and have not been able to obtain a residency or secure a license to practice medicine, and avenues to help them should be evaluated.
(15) The AMA bly reaffirms existing policy urging U.S. licensing authorities to focus on the individual academic and personal achievements when evaluating FMGs for the purposes of licensure. More effective methods for evaluating the quality of the undergraduate medical education of FMGs should be pursued and, when available, the results should be a part of the determination of eligibility for licensure.
(16) The AMA reaffirms its support for the requirement that all medical school graduates complete at least one year of graduate medical education in an accredited U.S. program in order to qualify for full and unrestricted licensure.
(17) The AMA supports continued monitoring of the effectiveness of the Fifth Pathway program, including to the degree possible any measurable impact of the program on enrollments in Caribbean and Central American medical schools.
(18) The AMA reaffirms and supports publicizing existing policy concerning the granting of staff and clinical privileges in hospitals and other health facilities.
(19) The AMA reaffirms its support of the participation of all physicians, including graduates of foreign as well as U.S. and Canadian medical schools, in organized medicine.
(20) The AMA encourages the constituent medical societies to support qualified FMGs for nominations to AMA committees and councils.
(21) The AMA supports studying the feasibility of conducting peer-to-peer membership recruitment efforts aimed at FMGs who are not AMA members.
(22) The AMA is committed to using its existing publications to highlight policies and activities of interest to FMGs, stressing the common concerns of all physicians.
(23) The AMA supports demonstrating its interests in issues related to FMGs by publicizing its many relevant resources to all physicians, especially to nonmember FMGs.
(24) The AMA supports expansion of its efforts to prepare and disseminate information about requirements for admission to accredited residency programs, the availability of positions, and the problems of becoming licensed and entering full and unrestricted medical practice in the U.S. that face FMGs. This information should be addressed to college students, high school and college advisors, and students in foreign medical schools.
(25) The AMA continues to recognize the common aims and goals of all physicians, particularly those practicing in the U.S., and supports making every effort to include all physicians who are permanent residents of the U.S. in the mainstream of American medicine.
(26) The AMA is committed to identifying and publicizing resources within the AMA that will respond to inquiries from FMGs.
(27) The AMA is committed to providing leadership to promote the international exchange of medical knowledge as well as cultural understanding between the U.S. and other nations.
(28) The AMA urges institutions that sponsor exchange visitor programs in medical education, clinical medicine and public health to tailor programs for the individual visiting scholar that will meet the needs of the scholar, the institution, and the nation to which he will return.
(29) The AMA is committed to informing foreign national FMGs that the availability of training and practice opportunities in the U.S. is limited by the availability of fiscal and human resources to maintain the quality of medical education and patient care in the U.S.
(BOT Rep. Z, A-86; Reaffirmed: Res. 312, I-93)