Research Before Applying to Residency Programs

Let’s face it, if you are an IMG you will have challenges and it you should recognize that there will be tremendous amount of obstacles before you land on a residency spot.  The biggest obstacle will be where to get a residency. What I noticed is that some students will apply blindly to numerous residency programs without researching. You should always research to see if your school is approved in the state and you should also research to see if the residency program will accept you. Most states don’t DISAPPROVE Caribbean medical schools and they have the APPROVED list of schools.  If your school is not in the DISAPPROVED list then it’s good; however, some residency programs will only accept students from schools in the state’s approved list.

According to the IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program web site:

Before applying, please visit the Indiana Licensing Board’s web site to determine if your school is approved for licensure in Indiana. If your school is not on the “approved” list, we will not be able to consider your application.

According to the Indian Licensing Board, Ross, Saba, SGU, and AUC are the only foreign schools which are approved. And all other schools which are not in the disapproved list are taken in a case by case manner. Some schools in Indiana will not consider students if they are not in the approved list. So, students from SJSM, MUA, Xavier, AUA, AGU and other schools, don’t bother applying in Indiana. Don’t waste your money in applying for programs in states that your school is not approved in.

Another issue you need to consider is when will you get your medical license. Residents usually sit for USMLE Step 3 after the intern year of residency and get their license. However certain criteria have been changed and now some states require residents to complete their entire residency in order for the state to issue their medical license if their school is not from the approved list.

According to the Georgia Medical Board:

Graduates attending schools not listed in the Medical Schools Recognized by the Medical Board of California must complete three (3) years of post graduate training in a program accredited by the ACGME.

Basically post graduate training is residency and you have to finish your residency in order to get your license.

According to the Alaska Medical Board web site, it doesn’t have much restrictions except just passing your boards and be a legal US resident.  The following is from the board’s medical statues & regulations:

Sec. 08.64.225. Foreign medical graduates.
(a) Applicants who are graduates of medical colleges not accredited by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Council on Medical Education of the American
Medical Association shall
  (1) meet the requirements of AS 08.64.200(a)(3) and (4) and 08.64.255;
  (2) have successfully completed
     (A) three years of postgraduate training as evidenced by a certificate of completion of the first year of
postgraduate training from the facility where the applicant completed the first year of internship or residency and a certificate of successful completion of two additional years of postgraduate training at a recognized hospital; or
     (B) other requirements establishing proof of competency and professional qualifications as the board considers necessary to ensure the continued protection of the public adopted at the discretion of the board by regulation; and
  (3) have passed examinations as specified by the board in regulations.
(b) Requirements establishing proof of competency under (a)(2)(B) of this section may include
  (1) current licensure in another state and an active medical practice in that state for at least three years; or
  (2) current board certification in a practice specialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
(c) In this section, “recognized hospital” means a hospital that has been approved for internship or residency training by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Be smart and research before applying for residencies so you will save your self time and money and increase your chances of getting a residency.