Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Subtle Bias (or racism?) against IMGs

Life of an IMG is full of many struggles and experiences. After going through USMLEs, visa issues, cultural barriers and shocks, the last thing we want to deal with is a nasty attitude from our attendings or fellow residents just because we are foreigners. After talking to many fellow IMGs, and even a few American graduates, I have concluded that despite all the political correctness in America, some among us cannot hide our feelings towards IMGs.

There could be many possible reasons, first and foremost is just human nature. Be it third world or first, we humans will always be reluctant to let others in. Someone said that AMGs probably hate IMGs because AMGs usually have huge college loans while IMGs mostly don't, so they think they have had to go through all the financial struggles and then we come take over some of their positions and eventually end up making a lot more money than them. It makes sense to a certain extent but our struggles, be it different than theirs, are also very tough. To get into the residency, we have to work a lot harder than our fellow AMGs. Most of us have a very different medical education and healthcare system in our countries and we have to re-wire our brains for the USMLEs,. Not to mention the language and cultural barriers we have to overcome. While the AMGs have it easy in that way. They pretty much work as first year residents in the last year of their medical schools. So for us, it's a switch of not just a country or healthcare system but of an entire lifestyle. I believe we deserve a little more credit and appreciation than what we get most of the time.

This Hispanic medical student from NYU once told me that it is not the bias against IMGs but the general attitude of people in residency programs specially in well known programs. In his words, the attendings yell at the residents, the residents vent it out on their interns and the interns on the medical students. Probably because residencies are "supposed to be" tough and they want to keep it brutal (for whatever reason that I will never understand!). That might be right to a certain extent, but that will not explain why certain attendings have different attitude towards AMGs and IMGs when they are in the same group.

I think not much can be done here regarding the issue but what will help is for IMGs to understand that it's nothing personal, but just human nature about not being trusting someone who is basically from the outside, or sometimes because of just plain ignorance and a result of one's own insecurities, what we can do is to be courteous and professional, and prove with our medical skills that hey, I might have an accent but my patients are as happy as yours if not happier. The AMGs should also understand that IMGs have had to deal with a lot more than what they have had to to get where they are and that kind of determination needs some respect. Both should not forget that we are in the business of saving lives, compassion and patience are what define us, we should practice the same with our colleagues as well, regardless of their nationality or race.

No comments:

Post a Comment