Evaluation of a dedicated, surgery-oriented visiting international medical student program

Pedro Pablo Gomez, Ross E. Willis, Luis Alejandro Jaramillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose Programs dedicated to the successful integration of international medical graduates into the U.S. surgical residency training are scarce and foreign students are often unaware of their availability. In 2007, the Department of Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio developed the Visiting International Students in San Antonio (VISSA) program designed to bring international senior medical students to rotate at our institution. The program has enrolled 55 students who rotated through various general surgery services. The purpose of this study was to assess prior participants' professional statuses, career selections, and satisfaction with our program. Methods A 21-item anonymous online survey was distributed via e-mail. Demographic information, current professional status, residency specialty selection, assessment of satisfaction, and personal experience with the VISSA program were collected. Results We obtained an 84% (46/55) response rate among participants. Most respondents were men (75.6%) and younger than 25 years of age (82.6%). Students from 14 nations have visited our institution, mostly from Latin America (56.5%) and Asia (36.9%). Before visiting our program, 80.4% considered applying to a residency program in the United States, which increased to 88.9% after rotating at our institution. Of our respondents, 42.1% applied to a residency program in the United States and 17.4% were accepted to a general surgery position (50% categorical and 50% preliminary). Respondents agreed or strongly agreed that being part of the VISSA program helped them obtain a general surgery residency position (90.4%) and considered our program as their first option (77.8%). Independently of their current professional status or residency selection process, 100% of respondents would recommend participation in our program to colleagues at their medical schools. Conclusion A dedicated, surgery-oriented visiting foreign medical student program has a positive effect in residency selection, application, and professional development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-328
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • career development
  • international medical graduate
  • medical student

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Surgery


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