BackTable / ENT / Podcast / Episode #95
Matching into ENT Residency as an International Medical Graduate
with Dr. Amal Isaiah
In this episode of BackTable ENT, Dr. Gopi Shah and Dr. Amal Isaiah, a pediatric otolaryngologist at the University of Maryland, discuss how to apply to US residency programs as an international medical graduate (IMG) and the unique challenges applicants may face during the process.
BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2023, March 8). Ep. 95 – Matching into ENT Residency as an International Medical Graduate [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.backtable.com
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Dr. Amal Isaiah
Dr. Amal Isaiah is a pediatric otolaryngologist at the University of Maryland.
Dr. Gopi Shah
Dr. Gopi Shah is a practicing ENT at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX.
First, Dr. Isaiah recaps his medical journey, which took him from India to the UK for a PhD, and then to the US for residency and fellowship. Then, he explains what IMG applicants can do to strengthen their applications before applying. He emphasizes the importance of making connections to the American programs through doing research work. These positions can be obtained through cold calling and emails, but he notes that there are also tenures and society fellowships available. Unfortunately, many of these positions are usually unpaid. Dr. Isaiah recommends that international medical students pursue postgraduate training in their home country and spend 5-6 years in the United States doing research before applying to US residency programs. There is a less common, alternative way to match into residency by first completing an unaccredited US fellowship program and then applying for residency.
Dr. Shah and Dr. Isaiah also discuss board exams for IMGs, which include Step 1, Step 2, and Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certifications. They agree that letters of recommendation and personal statements are important. Dr. Isaiah recommends that IMG applicants read US applicant essays and have their mentors look over their essays for language and grammar revisions. Finally, the doctors discuss the different types of visas that are needed for IMG residents and attendings (i.e.- H-1 visa, J-1 visa) and differences between visas, sponsorships, and green cards. He notes that the process of obtaining a visa has been made more challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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