Upwardly Global Announces New Guides to Relicensing for Internationally Trained Healthcare Workers

Upwardly Global Announces New Guides to Relicensing for Internationally Trained Healthcare Workers

Upwardly Global is excited to announce the release of new comprehensive guidelines to help internationally trained healthcare workers relicense and find employment in the U.S. healthcare sector.


These new and updated licensing guides — focused on the states of California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington, D.C. for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists — are desperately needed at a time when COVID-19 has intensified the demand for qualified healthcare workers. There are some 165,000 unemployed and underemployed internationally trained healthcare workers in the U.S. in the midst of a severe and prolonged labor shortage impacting the healthcare industry. The pandemic has emphasized the need for healthcare and stretched workers to the limit.

“We can no longer afford to overlook international trained healthcare workers,” said Jina Krause- Vilmar, President and CEO of Upwardly Global. “The pandemic has only exacerbated an already present problem that has persisted for years. It is our hope that these guidelines will help expedite the hiring of qualified medical professionals and get them into jobs that have gone unfilled.”

These guidelines bring together information from state medical boards to help workers find employment and fill gaps in care. The documents feature tips for applying, information about eligibility, how each profession is organized, tests, time and cost, and other need-to-know details.

Many immigrants and refugees, including those who have recently arrived from Afghanistan, have the training and experience to support the U.S. healthcare industry. But many are sidelined by licensing rules that fail to recognize their expertise and require costly and time-consuming examinations and residencies in a system that overwhelmingly favors U.S. applicants. That means many qualified people still can’t serve in the fight against COVID-19.

Finding Work in Healthcare

Adebola arrived in the U.S. with training as a doctor in Nigeria and experience as a United Nations public-health expert. She found the struggle to find work in the U.S. “draining and frustrating.” She didn’t give up, however, and found support from Upwardly Global. “UpGlo helped me to feel a sense of community and belonging. I saw that others have walked this path, putting their best foot forward to get what they deserve.” Read her full story here.

Adriana practiced medicine as a pediatrician in Venezuela before immigrating to the U.S. The difficulty she faced in the licensing process was amplified by the Spanish-English language barrier. Now she uses her bilingual ability to help communicate with Spanish-speaking families and patients: “I know what it means to be in the hospital with something concerning when language is a barrier. When you say ‘hola’ you can see the relief for patients.” Read her full story here.

Preparing and finding positions

The new guidelines have been compiled thanks to hundreds of hours of critical pro bono support from a major law firm. There is, however, also a long-term solution: for healthcare licensing regulations, currently under the jurisdiction of individual states, to be standardized across the country. Upwardly Global is working with legislators, regulators, healthcare providers and grassroots and national organizations in several states to make it easier for immigrants and refugees eager to share their talents and skills. It’s a win-win solution for state healthcare capacity, for workers and for the many Americans in need of medical care.

In the meantime, forward-thinking healthcare systems such as NewYork-Presbyterian are working with Upwardly Global on paid internships and other exciting programs that aim to steer individuals into healthcare roles where their experience and talents are recognized.

If you are looking for job placement support, Upwardly Global would like to be of assistance. Please email: health@upwardlyglobal.org


Upwardly Global is a national nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate employment barriers for immigrant and refugee professionals, and advance the inclusion of their skills into the U.S. economy.

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