More foreign-born doctors practice in rural areas, come from poor nations; Kentucky is about average, West Virginia is high

More than 15 percent of physicians in the U.S. received training in lower-income countries, including India, Pakistan and the Phillippines, a new study has found, reports Lori Kersey of The Charleston Gazette. The study was a joint effort by the National Research Council and the Stanley Medical Research Institute, and was published online on PLoS ONE.

Most doctors from low-income countries practice in low-income areas of the U.S., where most U.S.-trained doctors don’t usually want to go. West Virginia has the most such doctors, at 29 percent all of physicians in the state. Kentucky has 16 percent, just above the national average of 15.4 percent. Montana, Idaho and Alaska all have less than 2 percent.

The authors of the study said low-income countries that send most of their doctors to the U.S. lost more money training them than they receive in U.S. foreign aid. In 2010, the Phillippines spent $1.7 billion training more than 20,000 doctors who then came to the U.S., but was only given $33 million in U.S. foreign aid. The authors suggest the U.S. should pay those countries back in some way. (Read more)
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