International Medical Graduates

International Medical Graduates (IMG) Recognition Week

IMG Recognition Week
IMG Recognition Week

During International Medical Graduate (IMG) Physicians Recognition Week, Oct. 16-20, AMA honors and celebrates IMG physicians who are a vital component of the physician workforce and the AMA.

IMG physicians play a critical role in the delivery of health care services. Having a disruption to the flow of IMGs who practice medicine in the U. S. would cause a tremendous change in medicine and affect the lives of patients.

Join us and participate in IMG Recognition Week by showing the value of your IMG physicians.

The AMA helps physicians build a better future for medicine, advocating in the courts and on the Hill to remove obstacles to patient care and confront today’s greatest health crises.

  • AMA sent several letters to the Administration and other federal entities to expedite visa processing and reduce the barriers and hindrances for IMGs practicing medicine in the U.S.
  • On Aug. 1, 2023, the AMA signed onto a letter supporting the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4942). Continuation of this program is especially critical for specialties that train a high number of IMGs who come to the United States on J-1 visas to complete their residency. Without a Conrad 30 waiver, these visas require this category of IMGs to return to their country of origin for at least two years before applying for another visa or green card. The Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act would reauthorize this crucial program for three years, make several targeted policy improvements and permit the gradual expansion of the number of waivers granted to each state.
  • On Aug. 4, 2023, the AMA sent a letter expressing our support for H.R. 4942, the “Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act,” which would reauthorize and make targeted improvements to the J-1 visa waiver program in a manner that helps alleviate the shortage of physicians, especially in rural and underserved areas, and promotes a more diversified workforce.
  • AMA provided resources regarding subsidies, visa processing/delays, visas affecting families, unlicensed physicians in the U.S., current physicians practicing medicine and licensing examinations.

Learn about AMA member Maryam Asif, MD, her journey in the field of pathology and her passion for mentoring international medical students.

Improving IMG physician mentoring: A way to prevent physician burnout and improve health equity


  • Oct. 18, 2023, 7 p.m. Central


  • Vishal Madaan, MD, chief of education/deputy medical director, American Psychiatric Association
  • Priya Radhakrishnan, MD, FACP, chief academic officer, Honor Health
  • Marie Brown, MD, MACP, director, practice redesign, AMA
  • Natalia Solenkova, MD, PhD, chair, IMGS Governing Council


Registration is now open. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

IMG section members who have been helped on their journey to navigate practicing medicine in the U.S. were invited to submit nominations to recognize their mentors. Congratulations to this year’s top mentors, Michael Debs, MD, and Toufik Madhun, MD. Both mentors were nominated by Ahmed Abbasi, MD, a PGY-2 internal medicine resident in Cleveland, Ohio.

Mentor Michael Debs, MD

Dr. Michael Debs was an internal medicine faculty member and program director at the time I interviewed for residency. He’s originally from Lebanon but finished medical school in Bulgaria. He came to the U.S. as an internal medicine resident in the Cleveland area and has been a practicing internist since then.

Dr. Debs gave me a chance to be the first IMG at our program. When I had applied to our hospital I had no reasonable expectation of getting an interview. I honestly think it was a mistake that I clicked off in ERAS. The program had never taken an IMG before. Nevertheless, I got an interview offer only two days after ERAS opened. I didn’t have top tier board scores or any impressive research. All I had was my story of being a young U.S. IMG looking to come home. Dr. Debs pulled my application out of the pile and gave me a chance to interview. During our interview he told me that my personal statement had reminded him of his own story and he wanted to hear more from me. My interview went well and I went on to rank it as my number one choice. I ended up matching and I have grown so much since then. Our program now has three IMGs and I feel that Dr. Debs going out on a limb for me was that first step.

Mentor Toufik Madhun, MD

Dr. Toufik Madhun is a pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine attending at UH Cleveland Medical Center. He rotates through Parma Medical Center as one of our teaching attendings. He’s a U.S. IMG from the Cleveland area who went to Ross University for medical school. After that he trained at Metro Health for internal medicine and University Hospitals CMC for pulm/CC and sleep medicine.

Dr. Madhun is the mentor that I always wished I had in medical school. I went to a medical school with no U.S.-boarded physicians and no senior medical students who had matched into residency. Most of my medical school experience was trying to figure things out for myself. When I started residency almost everyone I worked with was an AMG. Dr. Madhun was one of the first IMGs I worked with who I would sit and talk to as a mentor. The ICU is a terrifying place for me personally because I hate making mistakes and the stakes are so high. Dr. Madhun always held me to the highest standards while also giving me the chance to learn, first and foremost. He is a role model and an example that IMGs can keep pace with anyone as long as they work hard enough.

IMG physician toolkit

Navigate the process of practicing medicine in the U.S. as an IMG physician with resources from the International Medical Graduate section.

U.S. clinical experience opportunities for IMGs



AMA advocates for IMG physicians



Are you currently in a U.S. residency program or are you ECFMG-certified and waiting to match into a U.S. residency program (GME position)? Join now.