The University of California, Los Angeles International Medical Graduate program plans to recruit doctors from Latin America to increase the number of Spanish-speaking physicians to treat the growing Hispanic population in the U.S.
Since 2006, at least 66 Latin American physicians have graduated from the UCLA International Medical Graduates Program, according to the HealthyCal.org. The doctors are from Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador.
New data from the Department of Finance fueled the recruitment efforts. According to the Department of Finance, the U.S. Hispanic population will be even with the number of non-Hispanic whites by mid-2013. Early in 2014, the Hispanic population will become a plurality in California for the first time since California became a state.
"Hispanics will comprise nearly half (48 percent) of all Californians," according to the DOF report. "The non-Hispanic white population will decline to 30 percent from the current 39 percent and the black population from 6 percent to 4 percent."
A lack of physicians in general also is of concern. In May 2013, the Association of American Medical Colleges released a report, "Results of the 2012 Medical School Enrollment Survey" (PDF), which found that the nation should increase its medical school enrollment by 2015 to address the shortage of physicians.
The UCLA program will help foreign doctors qualify for medical residencies by preparing them for the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam and offer clinical observerships. The physicians will then compete for residency spots, according to HealthyCal.org. After completing California's three-year residency training, foreign doctors will have to commit to work in medically underserved areas for a minimum of two years.
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