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Foreign-Trained Doctors As Good As U.S.-Trained Counterparts
Date:8/3/2010

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Foreign-born doctors practicing in the United States who earned their medical degrees abroad performed as well or better than their U.S.-born counterparts, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed records on nearly 250,000 patients hospitalized for a heart attack or congestive heart failure in Pennsylvania in 2003-2006. The study included more than 6,100 doctors, including about 4,600 U.S. medical school graduates and 1,500 international medical school graduates. The overall death rate was 5.4 percent.

Patients of foreign-born doctors trained in overseas medical schools had a 9 percent lower death rate than the patients of U.S. citizens trained at U.S. schools. The comparison was more marked with U.S.-born doctors who trained overseas; their patients had a higher risk of dying than patients in either of the other two groups, the study found.

Compared to U.S. citizens who sought their medical degrees in international schools, patients of foreign-born, foreign-trained doctors had a 15 percent lower risk of dying.

"I am reassured that the international medical graduates performed as well as U.S. medical graduates. As a patient I take comfort in that," said study author John Norcini, president and CEO of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research in Philadelphia. "But it also raises questions about the education of U.S. citizens who go abroad for medical school."

U.S. citizens who want to become doctors but who were not admitted to a U.S. medical school sometimes seek a medical degree abroad, Norcini said.

The study is published in the August issue of Health Affairs.

About one in four doctors practicing in the United States received their medical diploma abroad, according to background information in the study.

Over the years, some U.S. medical professionals have raised co
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