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Is the USMLE etc process as an IMG a good idea? I'm a 32 year old gastroenterology attending in my country.

Myriam-gastro

Full Member
May 17, 2020
13
2
1
Hello everyone,
I've been reading alot about the process that IMGs have to go through in order to be licensed to practice in the US.
I'm a 32 year old attending in gastro in my home country. For personal reasons, i'm considering moving to the US.
I'm asking your honest opinion about:
The feasibility?
My chances to become a practicing gastroenterologist in the US?
How long would each part of the process take?
So in general, do you think it's a reasonable and good idea.
Thanks.
 

desirambo

Fellow
2+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2017
40
15
86
  1. Resident [Any Field]
I am a second-year gastroenterology fellow in U.S. I did my medical schooling in India and came to the U.S as soon as I finished my medical school. I did 2 years of research and I did an internal medicine residency followed by GI fellowship which I am currently pursuing. I got 99 percentile on all my board exams. So bottom line, it is achievable as long as you work hard and write papers, do research, and make connections. GI is the most competitive IM sub-specialty by any means - mean score, mean position per applicant etc. On average, 10-20 percent of IMG matches per year, and there are a lot of factors that plays a role in matching. To match in GI you have to do internal medicine as there is no concept of recruiting fellows directly from foreign countries. Albeit, there used to be away 10-15 years ago, however, it does not exist anymore - at least to my knowledge. Think about your goals what you want in life, If you want to re-do your training do something for the greater good, novel research, etc, go for it. If you are married etc, I think it is going to be a hell of a road but it is still doable! Good luck!
 
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Scope guy

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 30, 2014
458
214
216
  1. Attending Physician
Hello everyone,
I've been reading alot about the process that IMGs have to go through in order to be licensed to practice in the US.
I'm a 32 year old attending in gastro in my home country. For personal reasons, i'm considering moving to the US.
I'm asking your honest opinion about:
The feasibility?
My chances to become a practicing gastroenterologist in the US?
How long would each part of the process take?
So in general, do you think it's a reasonable and good idea.
Thanks.
you may be able to come via alternate paths such as doing one intern year(prelim med) and three one year GI fellowships, get licensed to practice. These back door entries are not well described but possible. there by you can start working in 4 years, instead of 3 yrs residency plus 3 years fellowship.
 
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Reactions: 1 user
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Myriam-gastro

Full Member
May 17, 2020
13
2
1
I am a second-year gastroenterology fellow in U.S. I did my medical schooling in India and came to the U.S as soon as I finished my medical school. I did 2 years of research and I did an internal medicine residency followed by GI fellowship which I am currently pursuing. I got 99 percentile on all my board exams. So bottom line, it is achievable as long as you work hard and write papers, do research, and make connections. GI is the most competitive IM sub-specialty by any means - mean score, mean position per applicant etc. On average, 10-20 percent of IMG matches per year, and there are a lot of factors that plays a role in matching. To match in GI you have to do internal medicine as there is no concept of recruiting fellows directly from foreign countries. Albeit, there used to be away 10-15 years ago, however, it does not exist anymore - at least to my knowledge. Think about your goals what you want in life, If you want to re-do your training do something for the greater good, novel research, etc, go for it. If you are married etc, I think it is going to be a hell of a road but it is still doable! Good luck!
Thank you for your insight. Last question, what is the step 1 score i should aim for and how long does it take to prepare for each step?
 

Myriam-gastro

Full Member
May 17, 2020
13
2
1
you may be able to come via alternate paths such as doing one intern year(prelim med) and three one year GI fellowships, get licensed to practice. These back door entries are not well described but possible. there by you can start working in 4 years, instead of 3 yrs residency plus 3 years fellowship.
Thank you for your insight. Last question, what is the step 1 score i should aim for and how long does it take to prepare for each step? Also, what is this alternate path's name so i can research it?
 

ChessMaster3000

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2010
853
285
266
you may be able to come via alternate paths such as doing one intern year(prelim med) and three one year GI fellowships, get licensed to practice. These back door entries are not well described but possible. there by you can start working in 4 years, instead of 3 yrs residency plus 3 years fellowship.

Wow really. Then why don’t us grads having trouble getting in, do this??
 

ChessMaster3000

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2010
853
285
266
Which is going to make it even harder for people to distinguish themselves and rise from less than ideal circumstances.

The downfall of meritocracy in medicine Has begun. We will start getting doctors who are not smart or confident enough to make clear, logical, decisive moves and instead who make vague, kick-the-can-down-the-road type of decisions.
 

hemosuccus

Full Member
Oct 28, 2019
75
71
56
  1. Fellow [Any Field]
I agree the Step 1 will not be a chance to distinguish yourself, but it is the hardest of the 3 exams, and probably the one you would do the worst in just as it is not as clinically focused. PDs will now look at Step 2 for the same discriminating ability, this is an exam you should do considerably better in, all is not lost. The challenge here is learning all the other specialties.

Alternative pathways into GI are exceptionally rare, I would not make this your planned route of entry unless you had connections or a clear academic niche that gets you in. If you feel the significant expense and effort is worth your move to the US you should try, it is not uncommon to see applicants who trained and succeeded elsewhere, I know my home program has interviewed such applicants before.
 

Myriam-gastro

Full Member
May 17, 2020
13
2
1
I agree the Step 1 will not be a chance to distinguish yourself, but it is the hardest of the 3 exams, and probably the one you would do the worst in just as it is not as clinically focused. PDs will now look at Step 2 for the same discriminating ability, this is an exam you should do considerably better in, all is not lost. The challenge here is learning all the other specialties.

Alternative pathways into GI are exceptionally rare, I would not make this your planned route of entry unless you had connections or a clear academic niche that gets you in. If you feel the significant expense and effort is worth your move to the US you should try, it is not uncommon to see applicants who trained and succeeded elsewhere, I know my home program has interviewed such applicants before.
Thank you for the clear insight. Do you know if the research positions people get into prior to the match are paid or not?
 

desirambo

Fellow
2+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2017
40
15
86
  1. Resident [Any Field]
@Myriam-gastro
An alternative path for GI virtually does not exist unless you are established GI academic giant with known expertise in the field. You can give step 1 as soon as possible to "Show off" score as I guess this is very important for IMG to differentiate themselves from an academic standpoint. Research is big and important component for IMGs who need a visa to match in GI. I think, lately, even USMG also needs research. Good luck!
 
Last edited:

Scope guy

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 30, 2014
458
214
216
  1. Attending Physician
Wow really. Then why don’t us grads having trouble getting in, do this??
these ppl have completed GI training in Europe or Asia and practicing there. They have to go through minimum years of training to become certified to work here.

Some big institutions like Mount Sinai and Mayo brought in international experts to work for them directly without needing board certifications. They have their own malpractice insurance and have great negotiating power with insurances who are the very people who ask for certifications. This is close to impossible for community practices
 
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