AMOpportunities talked to Dr. G, an orthopedic surgeon based in Chicago, IL. Dr. G has worked with AMOpportunities for three years, working with many international medical graduates (IMGs) in the process.

AMOpportunities: Why did you decide to establish a relationship with AMOpportunities?

Dr. G: They emailed me, and I thought it was interesting. I currently teach at a program with IMGs in it.

AMOpportunities: What do IMGs bring to your practice?

Dr. G: They bring a different perspective as part of medical school learning. They are generally harder working than American students. They have faced and gone through more struggles to get to where they’re at. They bring a different perspective in terms of medical education and life. For me, it’s interesting to find out where they came from and where they are now.  

AMOpportunities: What would you tell an IMG to expect when first coming to the U.S?

Dr. G: Expect to be treated well, and expect to work hard. We don’t expect them to have experience in our specialty. If they’re willing to learn, they will come away with a good educational experience.

AMOpportunities: What is unique about medicine in the United States?

Dr. G: As far as the U.S., a big problem is the inconsistency in the level of healthcare people can access based on their location and insurance status. It’s not an equal program across the board.

AMOpportunities: Do you keep in contact with the IMGs that have gone through your program? Where do they end up after working with you?

Dr. G: Because of the volume of students I deal with, I don’t keep in continuous contact with IMGs, but I do receive sporadic emails. The IMGs through AMOpportunities who have contacted me think it’s a positive experience.

AMOpportunities: What day-to-day challenges do you face?

Dr. G: Our practice focuses on treating the underserved population of kids and adults in Chicago. A lot of patients come to see us because no one will take their insurance. Some patients have no insurance but need care and are willing to pay. My clinic has a walk-in program, so if you can walk in and there is an availability, you can be seen. When there isn’t availability, it sometimes takes 3 to 5 hours. Some people are angry because they can’t access healthcare close to where they live, and they’re angry because they’re treated like second class citizens even though they have insurance. Sometimes I see someone and recommend physical therapy, but they can’t get access due to limited options.

AMOpportunities: What advice do you emphasize to the students you work with?

Dr. G: You need written goals. You need a plan that’s flexible. You have to be at the right place at the right time when the opportunity presents itself. I have international students who can’t find a residency program right out of school but 5 years later end up finding something. Some leave medical school and can’t find anything but end up getting an advanced degree in a different field. Keep your options open, work hard, and keep educating.

AMOpportunities: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Dr. G: When you see the look on the students face when a patient experience gets to them. They learned something, they’ve grown both as a person and physician, and they realize struggles were worthwhile.

Are you interested in having Dr. G as your supervising physician? If so you can apply for her rotation with AMO by clicking here.