International Medical Graduates

Establish an observership for international medical graduates

An Observership Program may be established by a medical association or interested group of physicians to assist international medical graduates (IMG) who wish to observe clinical practice in a U.S. setting.

These programs should acculturate international medical graduates to American medical practices and help prepare them for residency.

Programs typically last from 2–4 weeks per rotation or specialty. Observers can rotate among several specialties to create a longer experience.

Observership programs are not intended to be organized for profit. Physicians in each specialty should volunteer their time and efforts.

Actual costs (administrative fees, immunizations, etc.) may be itemized and paid for by the observer.

Download Observership Guidelines (DOC) to plan and create an observership in your specialty or practice. Use the Evaluation Forms (DOC) template to allow the IMG to provide feedback on the observership.

IMG observership guidelines

An Observership Program is meant to be voluntary for interested IMGs and volunteer physicians and should not be considered a mandatory step before starting a residency program.

Permission from the hospital and/or department chair of the physician should be obtained before beginning the Observership Program.

Because each medical licensing jurisdiction has its own regulations—program organizers should check with their local boards to see if there are restrictions on or requirements for medical observerships in their state or territory.

If you establish an Observership Program, contact the AMA International Medical Graduate Section at [email protected].

The American Medical Association (AMA) is not an oversight or accreditation entity. These guidelines are for informational purposes only.