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One-Third of U.S. Physicians Are Foreign Born: New Study

SAN FRANSISCO , CA— Almost one-third of U.S. physicians are foreign born and seven percent are not American citizens, summated a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Overall, over 16 percent of healthcare professionals are born outside of the U.S., noted the letter, which summated data from the annual American Community Survey and was co-authored by Indian American researcher Yash Patel. The ACS is a yearly undertaking of the U.S Census Bureau.

One in every 20 practicing medical professionals is an Indian or Indian American, notes the Web site Indian Students Abroad. Indians form the largest non-Caucasian segment of the American medical community, according to the site.

The proportions of foreign-born and noncitizen healthcare professionals working in the United States were previously unknown; therefore, Patel and colleagues sought to estimate these figures, according to Medscape.

Overall, almost 17 percent of U.S. healthcare professionals are foreign born and more than four percent are non-citizens, noted Patel and his colleagues. The study reviewed data for 164,122 healthcare professionals in 2016.

Thirty-one percent of “health diagnosing and treating practitioners” are foreign born, according to the study; 16 percent of nurses and 20 percent of pharmacists were born outside the U.S. Twenty-three percent of dentists are also foreign born.

“This study concurs with earlier studies in showing substantial diversity among physicians, and it also underlines the significant proportions of foreign-born individuals and non-citizens in most other occupations within the healthcare workforce,” noted physician Nicola Parry, reviewing Patel’s study on Medscape.

“As the U.S. population ages, there will be an increased need for many healthcare professionals, particularly those who provide personal care, like home health care aides, a large proportion of whom are currently non–U.S.-born,” stated Patel and his co-authors.