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April 10, 2020

Mass. can use foreign-trained doctors in coronavirus fight

Photo | SHNS Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order Thursday expediting a licensing approvals process for international medical school graduates as a way to help the state find enough medical providers during the coronavirus pandemic.

All international medical school graduates with at least two years of postgraduate medical training in an accredited program in the United States or Canada can apply for a license in the expedited program. The order will be in place throughout the state's pandemic-related state of emergency.

The order was cheered by the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition.

“This is great news for international medical graduates who are well into their residencies, with at least two years completed," Eva Millona, MIRA's executive director, said in a statement.

MIRA has also pushed, and said it will continue to do so, for a broader range of internationally trained medical professionals to be able to participate in caring for coronavirus patients.

“We thank the governor and look forward to continuing dialogue with the administration to explore these options," Millona said. "We also look forward to working with the state’s new commission to find long-term solutions that enable Massachusetts to make the most of this talent pool, adding hundreds or even thousands of new providers to help fill critical gaps in our healthcare system.”

UMass Medical School in Worcester graduated medical students about two months early so they could help during the pandemic. UMass Memorial Medical Center has also sought nursing students at area colleges to help staff operations at the DCU Center for less-severe coronavirus patients.

UMass Memorial, which is directing care at the DCU Center, is looking for students in a medical, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant, or respiratory program. Students will be asked to perform a variety of patient care activities and assist members of the healthcare team under the direction of a registered nurse.

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