Study Highlights Contribution of Caribbean-Educated Physicians to U.S. Primary Care Workforce

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The projected shortage of primary care physicians in the United States is well documented, and current trends indicate that the numbers of graduates of U.S. medical schools may not be sufficient to fill these roles. FAIMER Research Scientist Marta van Zanten and FAIMER Associate Vice President for Research and Data Resources John R. Boulet quantify the contribution that graduates of Caribbean medical schools make to the U.S. primary care workforce in their recently published paper:

van Zanten M, Boulet JR. Medical education in the Caribbean: The contribution of Caribbean-educated physicians to the primary care workforce in the United States. Academic Medicine. 2013;88(2):276-81

Findings in the study indicate that graduates of Caribbean medical schools make an important contribution to the U.S. primary care workforce. Specifically, the authors used the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile and ECFMG data to determine the numbers of physicians providing direct patient care. They classified these physicians according to type of medical school from which they graduated, and then calculated frequencies and percentages of self-designated primary care specialties for each physician classification. Results of the study show that graduates of Caribbean medical schools had the highest proportion of physicians practicing primary care, followed by D.O., all other IMGs, and lastly, graduates of U.S. M.D.-granting schools.

Access to On-line Health Care Services and Systems Resource Free to Latin America and the Caribbean

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Through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), free access to the Cochrane Library—a preeminent repository of research on the efficacy of health interventions—is available to individual users in Latin America and the Caribbean region. Versions in English and Spanish are available through the global Virtual Health Library portal at http://www.bvsalud.org.

The Cochrane Library comprises more than 4,000 systemic reviews intended to serve as resources to inform public policy, financial and technological evaluations, clinical guidelines, and supporting clinical decisions. The scientific evidence pertains to policies, programs, and practices aimed at improving health care systems and services. The library is intended for all users, from patients and the general public to health professionals and regulatory authorities.