Monday, July 20, 2009

IMGs or FMGs and non-clinical careers

  • IMG = international medical graduate
  • FMG = foreign medical graduate
They mean the same thing, but you may be more accustomed to using one acronym vs. the other. Hence, let me use both in the title, but to be consistent with the AMA (American Medical Association), I will use the term IMG.

If you're an IMG and you're considering a non-clinical career, do you know where to begin? I've found that there are very few resources for those seeking non-clinical careers in medicine for U.S. grads, let alone for IMGs. I've written on this topic before, but I'd like to highlight a few points:
  • If you're an IMG, it's critical that you have very strong language skills if you wish to excel in a non-clinical career in the U.S. I've met many IMGs who have medium U.S. language skills and that's going to make it very difficult for you to get into any position outside of clinical or basic science research.
  • If you're an IMG, social networking is critical. You want to have many connections in the corporate world so that you can gain a "foot into the door." By expanding your social network, you may meet people who can help you gain entry into different companies.
  • Visas - these can be a real obstacle in certain situations. You can't rely on a J-1 Student Visa anymore. Make sure to ask any potential employer about issues related to an H-1B Non-Immigrant Work Visa.
There are many IMGs who hold very high positions in different non-clinical industries ranging from pharma/biotech to medical communications. How did they get there? Some may have entered by working internationally and then transferring to the U.S. Others slowly worked the corporate ladder and "climbed" to success. If you feel lost, perhaps you'd like to start by Finding a Non-Clinical Mentor.

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