New Opportunity for Internationally Trained Doctors in Illinois to Provide Direct COVID-19 Healthcare Relief

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For over two decades, Upwardly Global has been advocating for policies and practices that ease the integration of internationally trained doctors and other medical professionals in the U.S. workforce. Sometimes, with adversity comes opportunity.

We are excited by a positive development in advancing opportunity for internationally trained doctors. Governor Pritzker of Illinois and IDFPR Secretary Treto have issued an emergency proclamation, which enables foreign-trained doctors to provide much needed relief in the assessment, screening, treatment, and care of COVID-19 patients.

If you are an internationally trained healthcare worker, get more info and apply here (and let us support you. Email

If you are an employer, check out this IMG Emergency Proclamation Employer One-Pager and get in touch with us at if you’re looking to hire.

Watch this video above about the opportunity with Secretary Treto, Upwardly Global CEO Jina Krause-Vilmar, and internationally trained doctor Sura Alsaffar.

More information on eligibility requirements for internationally trained doctors: 

COVID-19 has created enormous pressure on the healthcare system throughout the U.S. In response and in conversation with key players including Upwardly Global’s Leadership Council members, Illinois Representative Theresa Mah established a Healthcare Working Group to investigate this issue. The result is a bill (5465) that has passed the General Assembly to support longer-term solutions and a proclamation to invoke emergency powers, which temporarily enables foreign-trained doctors to serve in direct clinical roles. Doing so will provide much-needed relief in the assessment, screening, treatment, and care of COVID-19 patients.

Internationally trained doctors will be required to follow a simplified protocol and to practice under a U.S.-licensed physician through the COVID emergency. To see the list of approved individuals, click here.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are 165,000 foreign-trained healthcare professionals in the U.S. who are unemployed or severely underemployed. This is an incredible opportunity to tap into this talent that has been sitting on the sidelines for too long, waiting to contribute, even as we work to reduce barriers to permanent relicensing.

Upwardly Global has played a critical behind-the-scenes role in raising this issue with legislators and regulators in Illinois; initiating, connecting, and building the field of national and local nonprofits interested in elevating this work; and opening opportunity for trained immigrants and refugees to support a healthcare system that needs their skills. Our hope is that this initiative can demonstrate the significant value of internationally trained doctors and other medical professionals and build support for work that will enable permanent career reentry.

Who is impacted by this opportunity?

Immigrants and refugees who are or were licensed physicians, have passed all three steps of the USMLEs, and are interested in providing treatment in Illinois under the supervision of a licensed doctor as part of the COVID-19 response.

What are the next steps?

Fill out this simple temporary application and email it back to the IDFPR at

Preparing and finding positions for internationally trained doctors

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

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