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Thai Medical Graduates in the United States Residency Training Programs: 1988-2003


Issarang Nuchprayoon, MD, PhD, FAAP*

* Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University


In the past 2 decades, international medical graduates (IMG) were needed to fill graduate medical education (GME) positions in the United States (US). The author built a database of Thai medical graduates in accredited US residency systems between 1988-2003, and analyzed the trend and opportunity for Thai IMG. During the 16-year study period, there were 281 Thai medical graduates who successfully entered residency in the US, with a rising trend that reached a peak between 1993-1994, and subsequently declined to about 10-15 per year. Thai physicians entered US residency program 4.2 + 3.3 years after medical school graduation. Thai IMGs were mostly in internal medicine (N = 153, 54.4%) and pediatric residency programs (N = 76, 27.1%), with much fewer in psychiatry (N = 10), surgery (N = 9), neurology (N = 8), anesthesiology (N = 7), and other specialties (N = 18). Thai medical graduates tended to be clustered in a few residency programs. Half of the Thai graduates in the US internal medicine residency were accepted in 9 programs; the largest were Texas Tech (Lubbock, N = 18), Albert Einstein University (Philadelphia, N = 14), and University of Hawaii (Honolulu, N = 13). For pediatric residency, about half of the Thai graduates (56.6%) were in 6 programs; the largest were Christ Hospital (Oaklawn, N = 11), University of Illinois at Chicago (N = 11), and Jersey City Medical Center (N = 9). After residency training, most Thais (94.5%) chose to do subspecialty training. The most popular medical subspecialties were cardiology, nephrology, and hematology-oncology. The most popular pediatric subspecialties were allergy-immunology, endocrinology, and cardiology. In conclusion, there are too few Thais in the US residency system. This information may be helpful for Thai medical graduates who seek residency abroad.

Keyword : Thai medical graduate,Resident, United States

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