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Short Reports

The original research below serves FAIMER’s mission to disseminate information on international medical education and international medical graduates. These Short Reports focus on specific countries or topics and employ information that is collected from the ECFMG applicant database, FAIMER’s data resources, and/or other sources.

Cross-border Academic Mobility in Medical Education:
Faculty and Student Exchange and Research PartnershipsDownload PDF

(October 5, 2018)
International Medical Graduates’ Contributions to the United States Health Workforce PDF File

The internationalization of medical education has expanded in response to factors including the globalization of health care delivery and improved communications channels. The cross-border partnerships created within this context allow schools to leverage resources and remain competitive in a global market. To understand the impact of this trend, the supply of cross-border medical education exchanges should be recorded and monitored.

This report presents data on the occurrence of student exchange, faculty exchange, and research opportunities in undergraduate medical education across national borders within a select sample of undergraduate medical education programs. Most schools reported having one or more cross-border partnerships. Slightly more than half of responding schools reported participation in student exchange cross-border, and almost one-third have cross-border faculty exchange. Almost half of the schools reported participation in a research partnership with an institution in another country, and the majority of these occurred between institutions located outside of their geographic region. Longer established institutions and public medical schools indicated having more cross-border participation than their counterparts.


Leng, S.W., McKinley, D.W. & Opalek, A. Cross-border Academic Mobility in Medical Education: Faculty and Student Exchange and Research Partnerships. Philadelphia, PA, USA: Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research; 2018 Oct. Report No.: 4.

International Medical Graduates’ Contributions to the United States Health WorkforceDownload PDF

(July 12, 2017)
International Medical Graduates’ Contributions to the United States Health Workforce PDF File

Almost one-quarter of physicians in graduate training and practice in the United States are graduates of international medical schools (IMGs). In addition to their ongoing contribution to the U.S. physician workforce, IMGs are also employed in many other health professions. The research presented in this short report explores the available employment data reported by IMGs applying for Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Certification from January 2007 to December 2015. These findings will contribute to the existing research related to the U.S. health workforce supply.

When considering IMGs’ contributions to the U.S. health workforce, it is important to capture both physician and non-physician employment. Overall, a large proportion of IMGs were employed at the time of their application, and had experience as a health professional. Many IMGs also contribute to the U.S. health workforce in other roles: as non-physician health professionals, researchers, and professors. Previous experience in the health field can be of benefit to IMGs pursuing education and practice in the U.S., and may provide added perspective for physicians in their future team-based care.


Leng, S.W. & Opalek, A. International Medical Graduates’ Contributions to the United States Health Workforce. Philadelphia, PA, USA: Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research; 2017 Jul. Report No.: 3.

Overview of For-Profit Schools in the CaribbeanPDF Download

(November 7, 2014)
Overview of For-Profit Schools in the Caribbean PDF File

Globally, there have been projected shortages in the health care workforce along with reports of maldistribution of physicians. Responding to these projections, there has been an increase in the number of for-profit medical schools, particularly those providing cross-border education. Several of these medical schools are located in the Caribbean, and the number of graduates providing patient care in the United States is increasing. Descriptive information on the medical schools attended by these physicians, including estimates of enrollment and approvals by various agencies, is important for understanding the quality and the challenges of the education provided at these institutions. This short report updates previously published information describing the medical education provided at for-profit offshore medical schools (OMSs).

There was a very large variation across school characteristics, and variability regarding accreditation and approvals. The number of individuals who obtained certification in 2013 was very low for some small or new schools, and almost 1,000 for older, larger schools. Approximately one-quarter of the institutions have participated in regional accreditation or approval processes. Due to the variability in quality and oversight of Caribbean medical schools and the increasing number of graduates practicing in the United States, various international initiatives are taking place to help ensure the quality of these institutions.


Eckhert, N. Lynn & van Zanten M. Overview of For-Profit Schools in the Caribbean. Philadelphia, PA, USA: Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research; 2014 Nov. Report No.: 2.

Nigerian Medical School Graduates and the U.S. Physician WorkforcePDF Download

(October 25, 2013)
Nigerian Medical School Graduates and the U.S. Physician Workforce PDF File

The migration of health care workers has been a concern for some time, due to the critical health care needs in donor countries. Migration of health workers to receiving countries like the United States (U.S.) and United Kingdom has been criticized and examination of emigration from sub-Saharan Africa has been of interest. Nigeria has, historically, been considered one of the leading countries in the export of physicians. In this context, this FAIMER Short Report focuses on the demographic characteristics, examination performance, and practice profiles of graduates of Nigerian medical schools.

Graduates of Nigerian medical schools seek training and medical careers in the United States. Although small in number, these physicians provide patient care to Americans, with 80% of Nigerian medical school graduates serving as hospital staff or in office-based practice. In contrast, 70% of U.S./Canadian education physicians are in these practice settings. Graduates of Nigerian medical schools providing direct patient care disproportionately serve vulnerable populations in the United States.


FAIMER Research and Data Resources. Nigerian Medical School Graduates and the U.S. Physician Workforce. Philadelphia, PA, USA: Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research; 2013 Oct. Report No.: 1.

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[last update: October 5, 2018]