Doctors With Borders: Immigrant Physicians Hindered From Easing Georgia Doctor Shortage

Dec 10, 2018

According to the American Immigration Council, about 25 percent of the nearly one million physicians who practice medicine in the United States were trained in foreign medical schools. In Georgia, about 17 percent of doctors were born in another country, but they face high barriers to entry into the U.S.


That could be a cause for concern in states like Georgia, which has a severe shortage of physicians. The problem is especially pronounced in rural areas. Nearly a third of Georgia counties don't have a pediatrican. Six have no doctor at all. In places like Houston County, doctors from India have revitalized the landscape of medical care.



Andy Miller, editor of Georgia Health News, and Max Blau, a freelance reporter, recently collaborated on a five-part series with independent journalist Katja Ridderbusch about immigrant doctors in Georgia. They told "On Second Thought" about doctors from other countries who have been slowed down by President Trump's immigration ban or stymied by underfunded residency programs, which are a required step toward becoming a doctor in the U.S.


Miller and Blau also spoke about the potential of an assistant physician program, in which internationally trained physicians could care for patients under the supervision of doctors who have completed a residency in the U.S. 


Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Katja Ridderbusch's name as Katja Riddersbusch.