Editor: I commend Rep. Ricks and Sen. Buckner for sponsoring HB22-1050, legislation just approved by the General Assembly to facilitate the better integration of Colorado’s International Medical Graduates (IMGs)–those who’ve completed medical school outside the U.S. or Canada–into the local physician workforce. IMGs include refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Visa recipients, and other immigrants like myself.
I went to medical school in my home country of Jordan, where I gained invaluable experience providing quality care despite scarce resources. When I relocated to Colorado after getting married, I had my medical training verified through a nationally-recognized process, passed the rigorous American licensing exams, completed domestic clinical rotations, and worked in multiple non-physician healthcare roles. I’ve finally been able to qualify for a temporary medical license, but it has been a long, challenging road requiring extensive effort and significant investments.
Given the barriers that Colorado’s IMGs have historically faced, I considered moving. But I didn’t want to leave this beautiful state where my husband’s job is based and we are raising our family. Not to mention, Colorado is facing an unprecedented shortage of physicians while so many IMGs are here, qualified, and eager to help.
I’m thankful that HB22-1050’s important provisions, including creation of a clinical readiness program where IMGs can refine skills preparing for residency and a specialized workforce integration technical assistance program, will offer long-awaited opportunities for IMGs to contribute to our full potential rather than wasting our expertise or taking it out of state.
— Reham Abukhalifa, via [email protected]