Dr. Micheal Thrasher’s story

My name is Michael Thrasher and I have earned both a MD and a PhD in behavioral neuroscience from the University of Georgia.

I am an American citizen as well as a veteran of the US Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command at Edgewood Arsenal. In addition, I was a postdoctoral research fellow for the National Institute of Drug Abuse in neuropharmacology.

I graduated from the Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland in 2003 and I passed step 3 in 2009. This school is approved by the California Medical Board. I have tried to get a residency since 2005.

I have had an abundance of interviews in Neurology, Psychiatry, and Family Medicine at some prestigious places like Baylor, Cleveland Clinic, University of Chicago, University of Texas at Houston, Morehouse, University of South Dakota, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Long Island, Hunterdon, St Mary’s Mercy, etc,.

I have been told I would be highly ranked and once I had a program director call me at home and ask me what he would have to do to have me rank his program number 1. That was in 2007 and I still didn’t match.

I have been dropped from consideration because one USMLE score was 1 point shy of a cut off, I have been rejected by programs before my file became complete, without transcripts or letters of recommendation.

I’ve had the Medical College of Wisconsin tell me they didn’t accept foreign graduates, and I had the Medical University of South Carolina Program Coordinator tell me that since I was an American IMG they wouldn’t consider me unless I scored 90 or above on the USMLEs.

In addition to shenanigans at the US Consulate involving misstating their experiences in order to get H1 or J1 visas, alien residency applicants also bribe testing site officials in order to obtain near perfect scores to assure a visa.

The link below details the contents of a discussion on the usmle forum in which a user by the name “qwery” admits to having bribed an official at a USMLE Test Site in order to gain access to the exam before the official test began.

http://www.usmleforum.com/files/forum/2010/4/543751-2.php see what quewry is posting on exams

This may explain why so many applicants receive 99s on all 3 exams while their performance as residents belie the fact that their performance on the USMLE Exams were not genuine.

These days when program directors conflate scores below 90 as being “unworthy” because, “many of OUR applicants make 99s,” such behavior compromises the purpose of the exams and makes those of us who passed first try look unworthy compared to those who bribed test site officials in India or Pakistan to gain unfair advantage.

Such does not conflate “good moral character,” and as such should be investigated and those scores revoked, and those residents should be restricted from practicing medicine in the United States.

It should be a requirement that applicants from abroad be required to take the exams here in the US where they would have less opportunity to buy their performance.

I interviewed at UK Lexington Neurology for a pediatric neurology position on 18 November 2005. Dr. Burger said, “I thought you were Polish, I didn’t think you were an American.” He then began writing notes. There was no substantive discussion after that. The Indian Dr also demonstrated the same behavior. This indicates prejudicial behavior.

On 6 February 2006 I interviewed at the University on Mississippi Department of Neurology in Jackson to fill a spot that went unfilled in the San Francisco Match.

The director told me I was a very strong candidate. The position was given to a female Lebanese Dr who went to medical school in Slovakia who was here on a visa.

Again on 22 January 2007, I interviewed at Mississippi’s Psychiatry Department. Unbeknownst to me, this was their day to interview all IMGs. I wad the only American present. I was told they were pleasantly surprised by me because, “we usually don’t see such good candidates who are American IMGs.” Nonetheless, a visa holder received the appointment.

In 2009, I interviewed at the University of Chicago Psychiatry Department. When I got there, Dr. Spitz told all of us we were the group of IMGs that were to be considered for 2 prematch positions.

Had I have known that I would have refused to interview. I was the only American Citizen there and I sensed the subtle condenscending attitude of the interviewers. Two others were chosen, when I called and asked Dr Spitz if I would be considered for the regular match, she was evasive.

All the above converge to show I discriminated against because I was an American IMG and they assumed I was inferior.

I have been unable to find a forum to air my discontent; my senators and congressperson only put me onto a ring around the roses bureaucratic wild goose chase. I am competent and have an unswerving passion for medicine. What can be done?

I know the UK and Canada changed their laws to allow for their citizens to be awarded residencies before visa holders can be considered. Why can’t we do that here? I feel like the victim of a grave injustice and that no one is listening or understands.

All of you have the potential to right this wrong. I’m wasting my talents working as a technician, have been forced into bankruptcy, and I must use foodstamps to feed my family; all the while I’m ECFMG certified, have passed step 3 and have both a MD and a PhD. How can this be right.

What moral obligation do you have to American doctors who are being wrongly denied the opportunity to fulfill their passion for medicine. I beg you for all of us, please help justice along and give us a voice.

You now have the evidence so I hope you do due diligence and prompt an investigation into such practices that compromise the integrity of the venerable FSMB, the USMLE, ECFMG, and the NRMP in their quest to ensure that only those of good moral character are awarded the esteemed privilege of practicing the most noble profession.


Michael J. Thrasher M.D., Ph.D.