My name is Esther and I am a part of a large group of fellow Unmatched American Citizens. There are over 15,000 U.S. citizen, ECFMG certified medical graduates who went unmatched going back to the year 2000 when the ratio switched to less residency positions than doctor applicants. It is unethical to have citizens from other countries replace American citizen doctors in these residency positions. American doctors need residency program training to become licensed and are currently forced to sit on the sidelines during this COVID crisis. There are simply not enough residency training slots and no alternate pathway to compensate for this issue currently. There should be some alternate pathway to help during this pandemic in which we have a higher mortality rate higher than any other developed nation in the world. The USA needs a lot more doctors than are being trained . I think apprenticeships, creating more residency spots or some other alternate pathway needs to be created. Talent is being squandered and talented doctors are being prevented from finishing their training after they have accrued medical school loans.
H1B abuse is systemic to industry both within and outside medicine. While preparing for my USMLE exams, I attended a one month pharmacovigilance training program offered by an Indian recruiting company (globalpharmatek.com ). They were training Indian citizens with H1-B visas. After the training, only H1- B visa holders were recruited for jobs with pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson, while myself and a few other Indian Americans who were Caribbean medical grads were denied jobs at these pharmaceutical companies. I later found out these Indian visa holders had to sign contracts committing half of their hourly wages to the Indian recruiting company. American citizens were not tied to such a contract because it is considered an illegal practice.
Residency programs are run by Foreign Program directors who appear to be handing out the majority of these J-1 visas for residency spots to people from their home countries eg. India and Pakistan while Americans are being sidelined. This has to stop. We need American medical grads and American International medical grads to be prioritized in the residency matching system.
There are many private practice physicians that are open to training medical school graduates, who want to expand residency programs to private practice. The current residency programs, especially for Family practice often focus on hospital-based medicine which is not primary care.
I am one of those unmatched ECFMG certified with over $170,000 in medical school loans which have gone to collections and are negatively impacting my credit.
I have completed all of my clinical training in Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia in all the required and elective specialties. I am willing to go to any underserved area of the United States for my residency training in Primary care/Family medicine. I am well versed in the American health care system and have excellent physician-patient and communication skills. I cannot see myself practicing medicine in any country other than this country which I call home.
Finally Mr. President I urge you to please put a halt to the J1 and H1-B visa, federal tax payers, American residency programs especially for rural GME family Medicine programs.
Edited by CA 10/19/20