Program Rationale

Facts: Only 5.2% of the physician workforce in California is Hispanic compared to 36% of the state's population. Further, almost 35% of California's 13 million Hispanics reside in medically underserved areas (MUAs) compared to 20% of the total population.

HPSA areas located in California

California's Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas - widespread lack of access to basic primary care.

Solution: The UCLA Department of Family Medicine has developed an innovative program to address the state's changing demographics and existing shortage of Hispanic doctors.

How: This program provides bilingual English/Spanish IMGs, who are committed to the care of our state's underserved populations, with a comprehensive program to pass the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, USMLE Step 2 CS and to compete for a California Family Medicine residency training program intern position. The objective of the UCLA IMG pre-residency training program is to increase the number of bilingual and bicultural Hispanic family physicians practicing in our underserved communities.

Total Physicians by Race/Ethnicity - 2006
(total physicians = 921,904)
Race/Ethnicity Number Percentage
White 514,254 55.8
Black 32,452 3.5
Hispanic 46,214 5.0
Asian 113,585 12
American Native/Alaska Native 1,444 .02
Other 12,572 1.4
Unknown 201,383 22

Source: Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the US, 2008 Edition. American Medical Association

Purpose: To prepare bilingual (English-Spanish), bi-cultural IMGs to become a Board-certified California family physician through a unique pre-residency training program. The program seeks IMGs from medical schools approved by the state of California who are committed to train in a 3-year, salaried Family Medicine residency training program in California.

IMG Commitment: Upon successful completion of the residency, the graduate will be required to spend 24 to 36 months in an underserved community providing care to those immigrants and low-income patients who face financial and language barriers for care. The service to the community after residency is a requirement for participation in the UCLA IMG Program.

This UCLA IMG program will provide both the tools and resources to help you successfully complete the journey required to become a U.S. licensed physician. As a first step, it is extremely important that you DO NOT take any of the United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLEs) without first achieving a minimum score of 500 on a National Board of Medical Examination (NBME) practice test. Residency programs will receive all your USMLE attempts and scores. More than one failure usually will exclude you from further consideration by training programs.

The UCLA IMG program provides educational stipends which help offset the cost of participating in this full-time program. During all phases of the program, neither part-time nor full-time employment is possible, as you will need to commit a minimum of 50 hours per week to achieveing your goal of becoming a U.S. licensed physician.

Updated March 2012