Foreign Versus Domestic Education of Physicians for the United States: A Case Study of South Asian Physicians in California


Elizabeth Mertz, Ruby Jain, Jennifer Breckler, Eric Chen, Kevin Grumbach

November 1, 2007

Physician supply in the U.S. is again on the national health policy agenda. A central issue in this debate is the availability of physicians willing to work in underserved and disadvantaged communities-an issue closely linked to the number of minority and international medical graduate (IMG) physicians working in the U.S. In California, South Asian IMGs, but not South Asian U.S. medical graduates, are more likely to work in underserved communities. Incorporation of strong policy levers aimed at an equitable geographic distribution of physicians will be critical as the U.S. moves toward greater self-sufficiency of physician supply. More specifically, the authors note the continuing central importance to addressing the needs of medically underserved populations of training physicians from under-represented minority groups (African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanic Americans) in U.S. medical schools.

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