US to open the door to more medical students

“President Obama has assured us that a bill will be introduced in the Congress seeking the removal of federal cap and add an additional 15,000 residency slots,” Vinod K Shah, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) told reporters at a global healthcare summit here.

The step assumes importance in view of the long-standing demand of the AAPI to increase residency slots for medical graduates to facilitate more international students to undertake Post Graduate courses in the US.

At present, federal cap restricts the maximum intake of students by various US universities to 18,000, out of which around 16,000 seats are reserved for US citizens, leaving only 2000 for international students, including those from India.

“If the bill is passed, it will benefit students from India the most as they constitute about 30 to 40 per cent of the total international students selected to study in various universities in the US,” Shah, who had personally met Obama and also attended the White House dinner hosted for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his US visit, said.

Recently, the US Senate passed Obama’s pet project — the $871 billion healthcare reforms package, which envisages health insurance coverage to an additional 47 million people.

“If the Obama Administration intends to meet this target, then definitely more doctors are needed. Currently there is a vast shortage of medical professionals. That is why we demanded the increase in residency cap,” said Shah.

The move is also expected to benefit India vastly, as New Delhi recently started recognising medical PG courses obtained by Indian-origin students of five countries — US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
“An official notification has been recently passed and included in the gazette to recognise PG medical courses certificates obtained by NRI students from these countries,” Ketan Desai, President of Medical Council of India, said.

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