Realization of entry-to-practice milestones by Canadians who studied medicine abroad and other international medical graduates: a retrospective cohort study
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BACKGROUND: International medical graduates must realize a series of milestones to obtain full licensure. We examined the realization of milestones by Canadian and non-Canadian graduates of Western or Caribbean medical schools, and Canadian and non-Canadian graduates from other medical schools. METHODS: Using the National IMG Database (data available for 2005-2011), we created 2 cohorts: 1) international medical graduates who had passed the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part I between 2005 and 2010 and 2) those who had first entered a family medicine postgraduate program between 2005 and 2009, or had first entered a specialty postgraduate program in 2005 or 2006. We examined 3 entry-to-practice milestones; obtaining a postgraduate position, passing the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part II and obtaining a specialty designation. RESULTS: Of the 6925 eligible graduates in cohort 1, 2144 (31.0%) had obtained a postgraduate position. Of the 1214 eligible graduates in cohort 2, 1126 (92.8%) had passed the Qualifying Examination Part II, and 889 (73.2%) had obtained a specialty designation. In multivariate analyses, Canadian graduates of Western or Caribbean medical schools (odds ratio [OR] 4.69, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.82-5.71) and Canadian graduates of other medical schools (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.31-1.70) were more likely to obtain a postgraduate position than non-Canadian graduates of other (not Western or Caribbean) medical schools. There was no difference among the groups in passing the Qualifying Examination Part II or obtaining a specialty designation. INTERPRETATION: Canadians who studied abroad were more likely than other international medical graduates to obtain a postgraduate position; there were no differences among the groups in realizing milestones once in a postgraduate program. These findings support policies that do not distinguish postgraduate applicants by citizenship or permanent residency status before medical school.