International students in United States' medical schools: Does the medical community know they exist?

Jashodeep Datta, Bonnie M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Matriculation of international students to United States' (US) medical schools has not mirrored the remarkable influx of these students to other US institutions of higher education. Methods: While these students' numbers are on the rise, the visibility for their unique issues remains largely ignored in the medical literature. Results: These students are disadvantaged in the medical school admissions process due to financial and immigration-related concerns, and academic standards for admittance also continue to be significantly higher compared with their US-citizen peers. Furthermore, it is simply beyond the mission of many medical schools - both public and private - to support international students' education, especially since federal, state-allocated or institutional funds are limited and these institutions have a commitment to fulfill the healthcare education needs of qualified domestic candidates. In spite of these obstacles, a select group of international students do gain admission to US medical schools and, upon graduation, are credentialed equally as their US-citizen counterparts by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). However, owing to their foreign citizenship, these students have visa requirements for post-graduate training that may adversely impact their candidacy for residency placement. Conclusion: By raising such issues, this article aims to increase the awareness of considerations pertinent to this unique population of medical students. The argument is also made to support continued recruitment of international students to US medical schools in spite of these impediments. In our experience, these students are not only qualified to tackle the rigors of a US medical education, but also enrich the cultural diversity of the medical student body. Moreover, these graduates could effectively complement the efforts to augment US physician workforce diversity while contributing to healthcare disparity eradication, minority health issues, and service in medically underserved areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15748
JournalMedical Education Online
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Diversity
  • International students
  • Medical school admission
  • Minority
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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