villa99

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Hi. First of all i'm new here so excuse me if I posted something which has already been asked. I tried searching for it...

Anyway, I just want to know what are my realistic chances of getting into a competitive residency (or say, famous residency: mass gen, hopkins etc) in surgery, even though i am from Colombia in South America.

Thanks a lot
 

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Without any information, I'd say it ranges from a slim to no chance.

Residency in the US can be affected by a number of factors outside of being an IMG, such as:

what are your USMLE scores?

do you have ECFMG certification?

do you have a visa?

do you have any US clinical experience?

do you have any US letters of recommendation?

do you have any research (surgery at these "famous" programs are highly academic and are generally designed to train academic, research oriented surgeons)?

have you already trained as a surgeon in another country?

These are important in the selection process and even if we had the above knowledge, it would be difficult to say what your chances were. Suffice it to say that it would be difficult to get into one of these residencies even as an AMG. They are not typically foreign grad friendly.
 

villa99

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Up until now, i've only taken step 1 and got 99, and I do have a visa... by the time i apply to a residency i plan to be ECFMG certified (I think it is not optional), to have done a 6 months internship/observership in the US and to get a letter of recommendation from it. I'n not sure about research... maybe i'll have something published in neurology...
 
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Winged Scapula

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Publications in a Neurology journal are not particularly helpful for a surgical residency, but its better than nothing.

ECFMG certification is not negotiable; I meant your chances of matching are MUCH higher if you are certified when you apply.

99s are good on the USMLEs as will be extensive US clinical experience. An observership however, is a waste of your time. It will not lead to a letter of recommendation which anyone will take seriously. You need have CLINICAL experience, not watching someone be a doctor.

May I ask WHY you want to train at a "name" program? Are you assuming something about the training there that may not be correct?
 

villa99

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maybe i am... the thing is i just started doing research into surgery residencies (as i recently discovered i want to be a surgeon) and those are obviously the first ones i came up with... they sound like excellent options for training (although surely not the only good ones)... maybe you could tell me about other good residencies which are not "name" residencies... thanks!
 

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maybe i am... the thing is i just started doing research into surgery residencies (as i recently discovered i want to be a surgeon) and those are obviously the first ones i came up with... they sound like excellent options for training (although surely not the only good ones)... maybe you could tell me about other good residencies which are not "name" residencies... thanks!

Unfortunately, Tired is correct.

The chances of a non-US citizen, trained outside of the US getting into a big name surgical residency is very slim. There are plenty of programs that the users here think are good - a search will reveal those threads. Whether or not those programs are open to FMGs is ENTIRELY another matter. With US students going unmatched into general surgery, you may find that you are not as well received as you might think you will be.

BTW, an IMG is an American citizen trained outside of the US; an FMG is a non US national trained outside of the US. Since you mention having a visa, I assume you fall into the latter category.
 

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if you are looking into surgical residencies a good place to start is www.ama-assn.org frieda website, you can get detailed info on all the surgical residencies in US and determine for yourself which ones are good based on location/faculty to resident ratio/teaching hours/# of calls and so on.
You can check on other web boards as well, some of them have a list specifically for IMGs, or pay for an online service which will give you a breakdown of which programs you can apply to based on your scores and visa status, it will also give you statistics in terms of % of FMG/IMG at the program.
 

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I believe the author of that article, Southern Doc, is wrong. There is a lot of misinformation out there. I've even found BB poster which defined "IMG" as someone who does their clinicals in the US and "FMG" as someone, any one, who does clinicals outside of the US. That's a new one on me.

If you go to NRMP, they define an IMG as an US citizen graduate of an international medical school.

All of the web sites and books geared toward foreign nationals call themselves "FMG" which was the original term. ECFMG was developed to help the foreign national trained abroad navigate the US residency process. IMG as a term is a relatively recent development.
 

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ok.. thanks for all the replies... i didn't know it would be THAT hard for a FMG to get into a good surgical program. I guess my hopes were really high...
 

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ok.. thanks for all the replies... i didn't know it would be THAT hard for a FMG to get into a good surgical program. I guess my hopes were really high...

The NRMP has data tables which can provide you with the chances of matching; and those are overall chances. As surgery has gotten more popular with the AMG, FMGs are finding themselves shut out especially out of the more competitive big name programs such as those you've listed.

You can probably get a Prelim position, although that is a special kind of hell which isn't entered into lightly. Perhaps you have underestimated the competitiveness of Categorical General Surgery for the non-US citizen. Unless you are an international superstart your chances are slim.
 
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Blade28

Agreed. General Surgery has become quite competitive and even the top community (non-academic) programs are starting to become a difficult match for the FMGs/IMGs.
 
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villa99

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Thanks a lot! You've all been very helpful!

Unless you are an international superstart your chances are slim.

What exactly is an international superstar?? (I'm not implying I might be one, just want to know what you consider necessary to improve my chances)
Thanks!
 

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Thanks a lot! You've all been very helpful!



What exactly is an international superstar?? (I'm not implying I might be one, just want to know what you consider necessary to improve my chances)
Thanks!

There is no clearcut definition of such but it would include things such as being internationally famous for your medical work, multiple publications, book chapters, inventor of a device, head of some international aid/relief group, etc. In most cases, these international superstars are not fresh medical school grads but rather someone who has been out for some time and is well known to his US colleagues.
 

Terpskins99

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Anyway, I just want to know what are my realistic chances of getting into a competitive residency (or say, famous residency: mass gen, hopkins etc) in surgery, even though i am from Colombia in South America.

Without any information, I'd say it ranges from a slim to no chance.
.
.
These are important in the selection process and even if we had the above knowledge, it would be difficult to say what your chances were. Suffice it to say that it would be difficult to get into one of these residencies even as an AMG. They are not typically foreign grad friendly.
There are always exceptions to this rule. I hear Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery is pretty tough. But check out where one of their PGY-2 residents is from... :cool:

http://www.neuro.jhmi.edu/nustrn/residents/pradilla.html

Anyhow, I totally agree with everyone that you should be applying widely. Having a visa is a big plus. One of my friends who graduated from a Pakistani medical school interviewed at a number of big name sites for general surgery including Columbia, Mass General, Hopkins and U Penn... but none offered the visa he was looking for, so he ended up at Penn State (still an excellent training site).
 

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There are always exceptions to this rule. I hear Johns Hopkins Neurosurgery is pretty tough. But check out where one of their PGY-2 residents is from... :cool:

http://www.neuro.jhmi.edu/nustrn/residents/pradilla.html

It appears that Dr. Pradilla did several years of training in Columbia prior to coming to Hopkins, is well published (articles and book chapters), so would be classified as an international "superstar". So it is correct to say there are exceptions to the rule...there always are. Unfortunately, everyone thinks THEY will be THE exception which just isn't realistic.

Anyhow, I totally agree with everyone that you should be applying widely. Having a visa is a big plus. One of my friends who graduated from a Pakistani medical school interviewed at a number of big name sites for general surgery including Columbia, Mass General, Hopkins and U Penn... but none offered the visa he was looking for, so he ended up at Penn State (still an excellent training site).

:cool: Is this HC?
 

Terpskins99

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So it is correct to say there are exceptions to the rule...there always are. Unfortunately, everyone thinks THEY will be THE exception which just isn't realistic.
Well, I think it just means that you need to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Pretty much every resident at every big name institution did so in one way or another.

:cool: Is this HC?
HC? As in which resident? No, ZI. ;)
 

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Well, I think it just means that you need to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Pretty much every resident at every big name institution did so in one way or another.

I'm not arguing with you. But most applicants and posters here on SDN underestimate the amount of work needed to distinguish themselves to stand out at such programs.


? As in which resident? No, ZI. ;)

Ah...HC was in my class, a graduate of the same school as ZI and one of the smartest, most humble men I ever knew.
 

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Terskpins Hi ...........I want to ask that this guy you are talking about who got into Penn State ...what was his plus points which got him interviews at all the big name universities.....I am myself an IMG and applying this year for General Surgery and I have seen IMGs with as many as 17 publications on PubMed and only 2-3 yr out of medical school and things like 3 yrs of Bariatric Surgery at Mayo and still getting prelim spot at a NY hospital and applying this yr for categorical. I mean that it seems to me that whatsoever IMGs do they cant get into categorical. I met a girl who last yr had 13 interviews and still got a prelim although she had a mix of both cat and prelim interviews. She was a carribean graduate and all her rotations were in US. So the question is that what it takes an IMG ( like the Pakistani guy you are talking about ) to get into a cat general surgery.
 

Terpskins99

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Ah...HC was in my class, a graduate of the same school as ZI and one of the smartest, most humble men I ever knew.
ZI is pretty similar. Hard working fella too.

Terskpins Hi ...........I want to ask that this guy you are talking about who got into Penn State ...what was his plus points which got him interviews at all the big name universities.....I am myself an IMG and applying this year for General Surgery and I have seen IMGs with as many as 17 publications on PubMed and only 2-3 yr out of medical school and things like 3 yrs of Bariatric Surgery at Mayo and still getting prelim spot at a NY hospital and applying this yr for categorical. I mean that it seems to me that whatsoever IMGs do they cant get into categorical. I met a girl who last yr had 13 interviews and still got a prelim although she had a mix of both cat and prelim interviews. She was a carribean graduate and all her rotations were in US. So the question is that what it takes an IMG ( like the Pakistani guy you are talking about ) to get into a cat general surgery.
Well, there's a difference between attending a Caribbean medical school and the program my friend went to. ZI graduated from Aga Khan (which is considered the most prestigious medical school in Pakistan), scored 99's on both Steps and completed externship surgery rotations at UPMC, Penn and Mass General.

He's also quite young (24). Younger than most of the Penn State 3rd year students rotating through the surgery department.
 
B

Blade28

So the question is that what it takes an IMG ( like the Pakistani guy you are talking about ) to get into a cat general surgery.

In general? Great Step scores, strong letters of recommendation from US faculty, significant US clinical experience. Published research is always a nice bonus.
 

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ZI is pretty similar. Hard working fella too.


Well, there's a difference between attending a Caribbean medical school and the program my friend went to. ZI graduated from Aga Khan (which is considered the most prestigious medical school in Pakistan), scored 99's on both Steps and completed externship surgery rotations at UPMC, Penn and Mass General.

He's also quite young (24). Younger than most of the Penn State 3rd year students rotating through the surgery department.

Aga khan students get a lot of such oppurunities with the help their notable alumni who are currently working at the top US medical institutions like MGH, JHU and many other.
http://www2.massgeneral.org/trauma/page.asp?id=alam

Getting the oppurtunity to work after graduation at MGH, Upenn is not something that we come across too often as an FMG. So at the end of the day, contacts matter more than anything when it comes to the big names for FMGs and IMGs. i know a guy from aga khan who got into GS-categorical at UT southwestern last year.
 
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