Purpose: To assess the attitudes of medical students in India about participating in graduate medical education in the United States and other countries and in subsequent clinical practice in those countries.
Method: A total of 240 students who were attending their final year at two medical schools in Bangalore, India, were surveyed during 2004. Surveys were completed by 166 (69%) of the students.
Results: Among the responding students, 98 (59%) thought of leaving India for further training abroad. Of those who wished to leave, 41 (42%) preferred the United States, 42 (43%) preferred the United Kingdom, and 9 (9%) preferred Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Only two students preferred the Middle East. Most who favored training in the United States indicated that they intended to remain after training, whereas fewer than 20% of those who favored training in the United Kingdom had such intentions. While more than 60% perceived greater professional opportunities in the United States than in India, approximately 75% were concerned that the United States had become less welcoming after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and similar numbers were concerned about the examination administered by the Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates. Conversely, the majority of respondents felt that opportunities for physicians in India were improving.
Conclusions: While optimism about future medical careers in India is increasing, the interest of Indian medical students in training and subsequently practicing in the United States remains high.