In 2006, a special committee appointed by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) issued a report that evaluated undergraduate medical education in the United States and abroad. With accreditation systems that can provide reasonable and adequate assurance for the quality of medical education in this country, the committee focused its attention on international medical school programs. Because international medical graduates (IMG) comprise a quarter of the physician workforce, U.S. medical licensing boards continue to seek useful and appropriate information on the medical schools of their licensees.
Among the report's recommendations is one calling for the establishment of a national clearinghouse of information and data on international medical schools. A workgroup with representation from the FSMB, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, and state medical boards has been formed to establish this clearinghouse. The clearinghouse workgroup is considering various quality indicators suggested by the special committee report such as admission requirements, policies relative to advanced standing, and aggregate performance data on the United States Medical Licensing Examination. The challenges facing the clearinghouse are significant (e.g., gaining cooperation from multiple parties in the United States and abroad, prioritizing data collection efforts). One likely means for facilitating success may be to concentrate data-collection efforts primarily on the 8 to 10 schools currently supplying the largest number of IMGs seeking medical licensure in the United States. In this way, the clearinghouse will provide licensing boards with a resource for standardized information on those medical schools commonly presented by their IMG licensees.