Tag Archives: medical

COVID-19/Coronavirus: Quick Facts

March 12th, 2020


On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. The viral disease has already swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people.

Many national and international conferences have been cancelled. Concerts and other events that draw large number of people have been cancelled and/or postponed. Schools and colleges are cancelling in-person classes and switching to on-line instruction. Here at ACEI, we are monitoring the developments very closely and cancelled our attendance at upcoming professional education conferences. We have a robust system in place to accommodate our team to work remotely and receive applications for credential evaluation online and via digital portals.

While we are in a wait and see state, we would like to share the link to Worldometer, an online site that provides live, up-to-date information. Worldometer, for those who may not be familiar, is run by an international team of developers, researchers, and volunteers with the goal of making world statistics available in a thought-provoking and time relevant format to a wide audience around the world. Worldometer is owned by Dadax, an independent company. They have no political, governmental, or corporate affiliation. Worldometer was voted as one of the best free reference websites by the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world. They have licensed their counters at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), to BBC News, among others. Worldometer is cited as a source in over 10,000 published books, in more than 6,000 professional journal articles, and in over 1000 Wikipedia pages.

For real time updated, please visit Worldometer by clicking here and World Health Organization by clicking here.

The following is copied from Worldometer’s site:

Typical Symptoms

COVID-19 typically causes flu-like symptoms including a fever and cough.
In some patients – particularly the elderly and others with other chronic health conditions – these symptoms can develop into pneumonia, with chest tightness, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

It seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

After a week, it can lead to shortness of breath, with about 20% of patients requiring hospital treatment.

Notably, the COVID-19 infection rarely seems to cause a runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat (these symptoms have been observed in only about 5% of patients). Sore throat, sneezing, and stuffy nose are most often signs of a cold.

80% of cases are mild

Based on all 72,314 cases of COVID-19 confirmed, suspected, and asymptomatic cases in China as of February 11, a paper by the Chinese CCDC released on February 17 and published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology has found that:

  • 80.9% of infections are mild (with flu-like symptoms) and can recover at home.
  • 13.8% are severe, developing severe diseases including pneumonia and shortness of breath.
  • 4.7% as critical and can include: respiratory failure, septic shock, and multi-organ failure.
  • In about 2% of reported cases the virus is fatal.
  • Risk of death increases the older you are.
  • Relatively few cases are seen among children.

Pre-existing conditions

Pre-existing illnesses that put patients at higher risk:

  1. cardiovascular disease
  2. diabetes
  3. chronic respiratory disease
  4. hypertension

That said, some otherwise healthy people do seem to develop a severe form of pneumonia after being infected by the virus. The reason for this is being investigated as we try to learn more about this new virus.

How long do symptoms last?

Using available preliminary data, the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission published on Feb. 28 by WHO, [5] which is based on 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases, observed the following median time from symptoms onset to clinical recovery:

  • mild cases: approximately 2 weeks
  • severe or critical disease: 3 – 6 weeks
  • time from onset to the development of severe disease (including hypoxia): 1 week

Among patients who have died, the time from symptom onset to outcome ranges from 2 – 8 weeks.

How to protect yourself?

World Health Organization offers advice on how we can protect ourselves. To learn more, click here.


Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [Pdf] – World Health Organization, Feb. 28, 2020
https://www.cdc.gov/– Center for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.who.int/ – World Health Organization
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ – WorldoMeter Coronavirus

Be safe and be well.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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ECFMG and Iranian Medical School Graduates: A (real life) Drama in 3 Acts

June 11th, 2015


-ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates)
-Iranian medical school graduates
-Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury

Once upon a time in America, over the course of a week, there happened to be some confusion at the ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) on what to do with medical school graduates from Iran. What transpired in those seven days demonstrates the state of confusion that exists concerning the sanctions placed on Iran which prohibit individuals/entities in the U.S. from engaging in commerce with Iran or otherwise face severe repercussions.

Here’s how it started:

Act I

On May 29, 2015, the ECFMG announced that it would no longer accept medical degree graduates from Iran. In their announcement they noted that Canada too would no longer accept Iranian medical school graduates. This prompted a huge outcry from the Iranian diaspora and educators leading to the circulation of a petition to have ECFMG place Iranian medical school graduates back on its list. Had ECFMG done its due diligence before reaching the controversial decision? Perhaps not, as seen by what transpired five days later.

Act II

On June 3, 2015, the ECFMG issued the following update: 

“ECFMG has consulted with officials of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of Treasury to clarify whether OFAC restrictions permit ECFMG to engage in verification activities for medical credentials issued in Iran. Based on this consultation, ECFMG is diligently working toward resolution of this important issue. Once again, we regret any inconvenience, and we thank all of our clients for their patience and cooperation.” 

Two days later, this happened…


On June 5th, ECFMG amended its position and released the following statement:

“ECFMG is pleased to announce that it will resume processing of requests for verification of medical credentials issued by educational, health care, and medical registration/licensing institutions in Iran. As previously announced, ECFMG was not processing such requests, pending clarification of restrictions of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. On June 5, ECFMG was advised by OFAC officials that it is permitted to engage in verification activities for medical credentials issued in Iran. ECFMG would like to thank all affected physicians and clients for their patience and cooperation while we worked toward positive resolution of this important issue”. See more at: http://bit.ly/1IxiVYL

The End!

My 2 Cents:
In most likelihood, the ECFMG was apprised by the OFAC and the US Department of Treasury of the issuance of General License G in 2014 which allows for education and cultural exchange between the USA and Iran. For a summary of the activities allowed under General license G, please also see the blog on General License G. For the PDF copy of General License G: http://1.usa.gov/1Ixjthc

All and all, a story with a happy ending!

The Frustrated Evaluator

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Is there a doctor in the house?

August 12, 2011

According to a recent report on PRI’s The World, “the U.S. suffers from a shortage of primary care physicians, and the problem is expected to worsen. America’s baby boom generation is aging, and health care reform could put greater demands on doctors as more American gains medical insurance.”

How do we intend to address this problem? There is one solution that can address the physician shortage and it would be to allow more foreign-trained doctors to work in the United States. In fact, thousands of such doctors are already here, but face a myriad of challenges that prevent them from the profession they spent years studying and practicing before coming to the U.S.

In order to get a medical license in the U.S., a foreign-trained doctor must first take board exams followed by an English language proficiency test, and complete a residency program. This is where the process becomes difficult. Foreign-trained candidates, along with their U.S. trained counterparts, apply for hundreds of residency positions but nearly “95% of candidates accepted for residency positions are graduates of U.S. medical schools while fewer than 40% of the foreign-medical doctors are accepted for US residency.”

In order to qualify for the board exams, the foreign-trained doctors seeking a medical license in the U.S. have already satisfied the academic and medical education criteria, otherwise they would not be eligible to sit for the exams. And, if they pass the exams, they are qualified to apply for residency like their U.S.-trained counterparts. Given the shortage of medical doctors and the expected demand for more physicians, why is our system stacked against these qualified individuals? Is the residency system unfair and biased against non-U.S. trained medical doctors? Or, is this selection process intended to discourage foreign-medical doctors from abandoning their home countries in order to practice in the U.S.?

The PRI report cites Prof. Mullan of George Washington University School of Medicine who studies the global migration of doctors that “there are several reasons why US residency programs prefer US graduates. A doctor in almost every country in the world is a product of the taxpayers or the tax base of that country. Because governments spend money on medical education, countries want a return on their investment. For that reason, it is appropriate for U.S. residency programs to select US graduates over those from foreign countries…if the US made it easy for foreign doctors to work here, that would be unfair to other countries.” But this is true of foreign-educated candidates with degrees in business, humanities, science, nursing, engineering who migrate to the US for either economic or socio-political reasons.

The fact remains that we have a shortage of medical professionals and we are not addressing this need through our limited residency programs. And until which time we have more medical schools, expand existing schools and able to increase the number of American medical graduates, we would need to deal with the qualified foreign-medical graduates in the US who are eager to step in and help.

Alan A. Saidi
Sr. VP & COO, ACEI, Inc.

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