The number of International Medical Graduate (IMG) physicians matching into categorical psychiatry decreased steadily over the past decade. The authors sought to understand if this trend was occurring in other specialties, if US IMG physicians and non-US IMG physicians were equally affected, and if certain regions of the USA were more affected by this decrease than others. Finally, the authors compared the proportion of foreign-born individuals within a US census region to the proportion of non-US IMG physicians within that region.
The authors analyzed data from the National Resident Matching Program from the years 2014–2020. Statewide data was aggregated into nine geographic regions, as per the US Census Bureau. The number of foreign-born individuals within each US census region was calculated from the 2018 American Community Survey data.
In comparison to eight other specialties, psychiatry saw the greatest decrease (46.3%) in IMG physicians matching into PGY-1 positions. Both US IMG physicians and non-US IMG physicians were equally affected. The percentage of IMG physicians decreased in each of the nine US census regions. In six out of nine geographic regions, non-US IMG physicians were under-represented when comparing their proportion to the number of foreign-born people that lived within that region.
Decreasing numbers of IMG physicians in psychiatry training may have long-term implications for cultural competency, serving underserved populations, and fellowship recruitment. We advocate for program directors to recognize IMG physicians as an important source of diversity and to recruit residents that reflect the communities they serve.