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IMGs and the AMA

The AMA and IMGs

A historical view of the IMG section and the IMG membership within the AMA follows:

  • The IMG Section met as an Assembly for the first time at the 1997 Interim Meeting.

  • An Ad Hoc Committee on Foreign Medical Graduate Affairs was appointed by the AMA Board of Trustees and rendered a final report with recommendations for action which was adopted by the House of Delegates at the 1979 Interim Meeting. It was a report that requested "support," "encouragement," and "commendation" but had little in the way of direct action requests.

  • Another Ad Hoc Committee on Foreign Medical Graduates was appointed in 1985 and submitted a final report to the House of Delegates at the 1986 Annual Meeting. Although containing some 29 definitive recommendations, it too had little effect other than to incorporate the recommendations into the Association's policy base.

  • A very strong effort was made in 1987 for the establishment by the House of Delegates of an IMG Section. This proposal was defeated at 1987 the Annual Meeting by a vote of 215 to 145. There was considerable disappointment with this decision within the IMG community.

  • The AMA Board of Trustees, in October 1989, approved a recommendation from the Executive Vice President to create an International Medical Graduate Advisory Committee. In June 1989, the IMG Services Unit was established. The IMG Committee was rechartered in 1991, 1993, and 1994, with a 1996 sunset provision.

  • Another effort was made in 1993 to receive approval from the House of Delegates for the establishment of an IMG Section, and it too was defeated at the 1993 Annual Meeting. This was not a well organized effort and the outcome was predictable.

  • In rechartering the IMG Committee in 1994 for a two year period, the Board of Trustees charged the Committee to create a structure that would more effectively allow for consideration of IMG issues within the framework of the AMA. The IMG Committee responded to this charge by creating a broadly based, participatory IMG Caucus.

  • In June 1996, the IMG Caucus Steering Committee assumed the IMG advocacy function and the IMG Advisory Committee's charter expired. The AMA Board of Trustees agreed to provide funding to the IMG Caucus Steering Committee for a period of one year.

  • The IMG Caucus, meeting at the 1996 Annual Meeting, decided to once again seek the formation of an IMG Section within the framework of the AMA. This time there was a favorable response and an IMG Section was authorized. It will become a reality in June 1997.

  • At the 1997 Annual Meeting, the AMA House of Delegates adopted the IMG Section bylaws, formally establishing the IMG Section.

  • At the 2005 Annual Meeting, the AMA House of Delegates amended the IMG Section bylaws so that all IMG members of the AMA automatically become members of the IMG Section.

IMG membership within the AMA

  • AMA membership among IMGs has shown slow but consistent growth, with IMGs representing approximately 15% of the total AMA membership.

  • Between 1970 and 1994, the number of IMG members increased by some 161%, in comparison with an 88% increase in the U.S. medical graduate population.

  • Of the 22,230 IMG resident physicians, 5,768 are AMA members. This represents a 26% market share.

  • IMGs are more inclined to become AMA members directly rather than through their state or county medical societies. Over 20,000 IMGs, or 22%, are AMA direct members.

Source: AMA Membership Department