Adyar Gopal Parivar
Education Page 2
I am doing my final MBBS now and I wanted some advice from you regarding my future education. I want to know if it is worth
going abroad for higher medical education or is it better in India? Had you done your MD in India or the US and did you have to give any
exams after going there. What is the procedure to apply for MD in the US. What exams do we need to give n are there any scholarships.
How much would be the approximate expenses.
I am interested in Medicine Paediatrics and Ophthalmology. Whats the scope for them in the US and which are the good
universities. Do you have any information about the USMLE or any books or material I can refer to.
Is there any website I can get info from.
Do u have any acquaintances in the US who can guide me regarding this
I will try to answer your questions (see below)
Q. Is it worth going abroad for higher education or is it better in India?
A. Higher education is good in both USA and in India, and one is not better than the other.
Q. Had you done your MD in India or the US?
A. I had not done MD in India before going to USA. The MD in USA is not a college degree, but only a license as a practicing doctor. After
passing a recognised examination of either US or foreign university you can not practice in any state of USA unless you register with the
Medical Board of the state where you wish to practice.
If you get registered with any state medical board then you get to be called 'Aparna Mandvekar MD' and not just Dr. Aparna Mandvekar'
whether you are a general practitioner or a specialist .
Each state like California, Pennsylvania, Texas etc., requires the doctors practicing within its borders to get registered with its Medical
Board and then add the post-fix MD to his name and begin practicing according to the rules and regulations laid down by the state Medical
The Medical Boards of each state in USA have their own procedure to give registration or as they say the license to practice medicine and
the letters MD as a post-fix. Once you get a registration in any one state then other states may or may not make you pass any tests or
interview you; New York State medical board may give license to practice if you already have the license of California. But the California
medical board may not give you license even if you have the New York state license, unless you pass one or two tests and an oral test
conducted by the California state medical board.
Raghu Bandin MD may or may not have done post-graduate course such as the American speciality Board Examination of US or the MD
qualification of Indian Universities. You can not distinguish a GP from a consultant by noting the post-fix MD to the name of the doctor in
USA. Because, both will have the post-fix MD which only indicates that the person is a registered medical practitioner.
MD post-fix in USA is not a post-graduate degree but only a symbol stating that the person is a registered medical practitioner. If you wish
to state in your visiting card that you are a consultant then you state that you are 'a Diplomate of the American Board of Pathology' or 'a
Diplomate of American Board of Ophthalmology' etc. Some people simply add the letters D.A.B.Path., or D.A.B.Opth., etc. These Board
diplomas are obtained after certain years of training in the position of houseman or registrar and passing a series of examination
conducted by the speciality board.
The MD qualification in India is a post-graduate degree obtained after a certain period of additional study and examinations after the basic
Q. Did you have to give any examination after going there?
A. I went to USA during the Vietnam War in 1968. At that time USA had acute shortage of doctors. The US government set up an agency
called ECFMG and conducted examinations in India and other countries to select some doctors for immigration to USA on a temporary
basis. Any one who passes a 2 hour ECFMG test at that time could get a position to work in any hospital in any state in USA. He can only
work either as an intern or a resident doctor and not practice independently.
When I was still in the fourth year of MBBS (1964) I took the ECFMG test and passed it. I got the ECFMG certificate. But I did not go to USA
until I passed the final (1965) and then completed my internship (1966) and got married (1966 December), and then set up general
practice cum clinical lab in Mangalore (Jan 1967).
Preethi was born on 26 September, 1967, exactly 10 months after I and Lalitha got married (26-12-1966). So after I decided in Jan 1968
that I will go to work in USA for a few years, I wrote an application to only one hospital. I applied for internship in a hospital in Chicago
(Resurrection Hospital) which gave the maximum salary as per a list published in a book made available in American Study centers
located in Mumbai and Chennai etc. The list gave details of thousands of hospitals in all states offering positions for foreign doctors in
I got an appointment letter immediately from the hospital of my choice first by telegram and then by post. I simply had to go to the
American consulate in Chennai (then Madras) and apply for a visa. The visa I got was a so called J1 visa which is exchange visitor visa. I
applied for the visa in the morning and the J1 visa was stamped on my passport page in the evening. I left for Mumbai same day (July 5,
1968) by air with Lalitha and baby Preethi (aged 9 months) from Chennai and directly by Air India to New York. Another plane took me to
Chicago. I started working from next day. There were no other examinations for the next five years when I went through one year of
internship and four years of pathology residency.
Q. What is the procedure for applying for MD in the USA? What exams do we need to give and are there any scholarships?
A. Now there is a shortage of doctors in rural areas of some states in USA where they will take foreign doctors knowing English well and
having knowledge of medical services in USA. But this is only for those doctors who are already in USA as some or other kinds of
immigrants. So if you can land in USA legally in some way or other then you can apply for internship of one year in any rural hospital, and
one or two years of residency and then take the medical board tests and get your MD. You do not have to go to any college for this and
there will be adequate salary given to you when you work as intern or resident. You might be asked to take one or more examinations
either USMLE II or III or III only depending upon the urgency for the hospital to appoint you.
For a foreign medical graduate (FMG) not already in USA the first thing to do is to pass the USMLE examination no. I and then II and then
III and then get an appointment in any hospital for internship or residency and go to USA with a work visa H1b etc. USMLE tests are not
held in India as far as I know. They are held in Singapore and Malayasia until the last time I heard about them.
After you begin to work there you can take the tests of the medical boards and pass the tests required by the state medical board such of
California state for MD license and you will be able to practice medicine anywhere within the borders of that state, as soon as you get the
MD license. Of course you finish your contract with the hospital for the internship or residency before you change the job or begin private
As I said there is no need to study in a university once you pass the USMLE examinations to gain internship or residency posts in a
hospital and therefore there is no question of scholarship requirement since you will be paid a good salary so that you can live fairly well
during these posts.
You do not need scholarship to get your MD license.
Q. How much would be the approximate expenses?
A. Expenses for education in USA is nil once you pass the USMLE I, II, and III which you take in Singapore or Malayasia. To take these
examinations in these centers involves the expenses of travel, accommodation and food during the examinations. That is all. There will
be plenty of expenses for postage for application etc.
Q. I am interested in Medicine, Paediatrics and Ophthalmology. What is the scope for them in USA and which are the good universities?
A. There is very good scope for Medicine, Paediatrics and also for Ophthalmology in USA. All the universities you hear in the News and
see in the magazines are good universities. Top medical universities are Yale and Harvard.
Any university is good because every university has to maintain a standard under the government rules. And the standards are very high
and the license of the university is cancelled if the standard is not maintained.
But for a doctor no university education is needed. The FMG has to pass the USMLE tests and undergo 2 or 3 years of training in a
hospital to get the MD license and enter practice.
Q. Do you have any information about USMLE and any books or material I can refer to or any website I get info from?
A. You can get all the information you need about these matters from websites such as http://www.usmle.org
This website would probably have all the material and information you need about USMLE. More websites are listed within this website to
I hope you got answers to your questions but I know this is not enough.
You can ask me for any clarification.
January 15, 2005
Questions and Answers about Medical Practice in USA