A roadmap for observership programs in psychiatry for international medical graduates

Hamoda HM, Sacks D, Sciolla A, Dewan M, Fernandez A, Gogineni RR, Goldberg J, Kramer M, Saunders R, Sperber J, Rao NR

Acad Psychiatry 2012 Jul;36(4):300-6

PMID: 22851028


OBJECTIVE: International medical graduates (IMGs) constitute a significant proportion of the psychiatric workforce in the United States. Observership programs serve an important role in preparing IMGs for U.S. residency positions; yet there are limited resources with information available on establishing these observerships, and none specific to psychiatry. In this article, authors present a roadmap for observership programs in psychiatry for IMGs.

METHOD: This article draws on the experience of the IMG committee of the Group for Advancement of Psychiatry in establishing observership programs.

RESULTS: Authors highlight the benefits of observership programs to IMGs, psychiatry departments, and the U.S. medical system as a whole. The different components of an observership program are presented, along with core competencies that need to be acquired. The authors discuss challenges that observership programs may encounter as well as recommendations for overcoming them.

CONCLUSION: Observership programs provide a unique opportunity to integrate IMGs into the U.S. medical system. This article provides a framework for establishing such programs in a way that will optimize their benefits and avoid potential pitfalls.