I am interested in a program that says it is J1 only, but I want a H1 visa – wha
It is not usually programs who decide whether to sponsor a visa, it is the GME office. However as the program usually has to pay, this can vary. If the GME or International Office says they sponsor H1, but the program says J1 it might be negotiable. Discuss at interview. If they say no visas then that means they don’t. Michigan does not sponsor visas, neither does NYP (Columbia and Cornell).
In my experience programs will usually bring up the visa situation at interview. If they do not, ask the PD at the end of the interview.
In general you can negotiate this with university programs. There is some flexibility as they have no limit to how many visas they can sponsor (community programs do have a cap – almost impossible due to the visa cycle starting in October). If they really likely you they can unless the hospital has a flat out policy. Personally I think it is ridiculous for top academic programs to not sponsor visas but there you go. I do think J1 visas are good in general as they provide doctors for underserved communities which justify having IMGs coming to work in the US in the first place. The argument for not simply expanding US medical school places is – it will not increase the number of academic leaders in the field compared with having international graduates, and it will do nothing to help with the shortage of physicians in underserved areas compared with having international graduates. But I digress!