Optimizing the clinical environment: ‘Mitigating Barriers to Inclusion and Advancement in Academic Surgery’ presented at VAM 2023

Raghu L. Motaganahalli

America’s face is changing, becoming more diverse and with more women and immigrants in the country, medicine and the vascular surgery specialty.

Raghu L. Motaganahalli, MD, of the Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, presented both the barriers and pathways to success in “Mitigating Barriers to Inclusion and Advancement in Academic Surgery: International Medical Graduate (IMG) Perspective. His presentation was part of an educational session on “Optimizing the Clinical Environment: Learning & Practicing with Intent and Inclusion” Thursday afternoon at the Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM) 2023 last week.

“I am an immigrant vascular surgeon and believe we add value to our specialty,” he said straightforwardly, at the start of his presentation. The US includes more than 2.8 million foreign-born healthcare workers from a wide range of countries. Top countries of birth are the Philippines, Mexico, India, Jamaica and Haiti.

In 2021, US-born doctors represented 60.1% of residents and fellows in ACGME-accredited programs; DOs made up 16.9% and international medical graduates made up nearly 23%. IMGs in 2021 represented 17.5% of the vascular surgery workforce.

Some challenges in getting hired include concerns about standardized training, including school reputation and accreditation; perceived language and cultural barriers and visa requirements, he said.

Both systemic intervention and individual actions can help mitigate exclusion. IMGs who want to advance in academics should “choose the right environment, surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and supplement your environment with the necessary resources to succeed.”


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