San Antonio (July 2, 2007) — Rajam Ramamurthy, M.D., a neonatologist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, was appointed to the board of the Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates as one of two representatives of the American Medical Association. “I hope to bring a global perspective to health education, which is in keeping with the programs of the board,” Dr. Ramamurthy said.
Dr. Ramamurthy occupies the “William and Rita Head, in honor of their children, Brice and Gretchen, Distinguished Chair in Developmental and Environmental Neonatology” in the Health Science Center department of pediatrics.
She also is the medical director of the Premature Infant Development (PREMIEre) Program, which exists to ensure that infants at risk of developmental delays due to prematurity, catastrophic illness at birth or environmental factors are evaluated for growth, neurological and developmental abnormalities in an intense follow-up program with developmental testing, appropriate interventions and family education.
The program assists families of infants weighing less than 3.5 lbs at birth.
Dr. Ramamurthy chaired the Texas Medical Association International Medical Graduates Section in 2000 and the American Medical Association International Medical Graduates Section in 2004. She compiled the first report on international medical graduates in the U.S. physician workforce.
The Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates
The council is a national organization made up of representatives from the Association of American Medical Colleges, American Board of Medical Specialties, American Medical Association, Association of Hospital Medical Education, Federation of State Medical Boards and National Medical Association.
Through its program of certification, the council assesses the readiness of international medical graduates to enter U.S. residency or fellowship programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
Another aspect of the Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates is the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research, which seeks opportunities to promote international medical education through programmatic and research activities.
As early as the 1940s, legislation facilitated entry into the United States by foreign-trained physicians. In the 1950s, the need for a formal program of evaluation of foreign medical graduates intensified due to the explosive demand for health care services in the United States and the greater dependence on physicians in training to provide medical care.
In 1956, with the help of the National Board of Medical Examiners, a medical science and English proficiency exam was developed, and in 1958, the exam was administered for the first time by the Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates in 17 centers internationally.
In 2006, the Accreditation Council for Graduates Medical Education accredited 8,186 programs in 120 specialties that trained 103,367 residents. Twenty-four percent of resident physicians are international medical graduates.
The Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates has served the health care needs of the United States and has helped health education globally.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $536 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $14.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 22,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields.