International Student and Scholar Services


WS15 - Immigration Concepts for Academic Medical Institutions

Sunday, May 29
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Room: CCC, 407

Member Fee: $355.00 | Non-member Fee: $482.00

Participants with experience in U.S. immigration regulations and advising international students and scholars expand their knowledge and skill set through a critical review of immigration options and institutional policies related to medical students, short-term and GME clinical trainees, medical researchers, physician-scientists, and medical faculty.

Learning Objectives:

Michele Stelljes

Supervisor, HR Immigration Services
Houston Methodist Hospital & Research Institute
Houston, TX

Michele Stelljes is the supervisor of immigration services and J-1 responsible officer for The Houston Methodist Hospital and Research Institute. She has previously served NAFSA in various regional and national leadership roles. Dedicated to offering colleagues training in the field, Stelljes designed and led workshops that focus on physician and scholar immigration. She is Chair Emeritus of the NAFSA Healthcare Organizations Member Interest Group (HIIG), Employment-Based Subcommitte and on the Trainer Corps. She is an advocate for physician and scholar immigration. Stelljes holds a master’s degree in educational ministries from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.


Janice M. Bianco

Manager International Physician Services
Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland, Ohio

Janice M. Bianco is manager of international physician services at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and former manager of the Exchange Visitor Program of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). She has 26 years of experience in international education and has been a frequent presenter at NAFSA conferences. Bianco holds a degree in political science and sociology from Villanova University and a Master of Arts in Behavioural and Social Sciences from Stony Brook University.


Eleanor M. Fitzpatrick

Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Eleanor Fitzpatrick is the Director of the Exchange Visitor Sponsorship Program (EVSP) of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). In this role, she works directly with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the academic medical community to develop and implement regulatory policies governing International Medical Graduates (IMGs) seeking clinical training opportunities in the United States. Currently, ECFMG serves as the sole J-1 visa sponsor for over 9600 international physicians enrolled in graduate medical education (GME) programs in approximately 650 U.S. accredited teaching hospitals. As an expert on J-1 immigration issues, Eleanor participates in professional conferences, instructional workshops and webinars for medical educators and administrative staff. She contributes to publications focused on IMGs and regulatory compliance. Prior to joining ECFMG in 1996, Eleanor worked in international health and development, including five years at the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC. She received a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, PA and a Master’s in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University, Washington, DC.


Robert D. Aronson

Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
Minneapolis, MN

Robert D. Aronson is an Attorney and Shareholder at Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., a multi-practice law firm located in Minneapolis, MN. He is widely regarded as a leading figure in immigration law and policy for the academic community - particularly research personnel. He has authored over 70 articles on various aspects of immigration law and was the Editor-in-Chief of "The Physician Book" (ILW: 2011). He was a co-founder and chair (1992-2001) of the IMG Task Force and the first recipient of the Roberta Freedman Lifetime Achievement Award for his professionalism and mentorship in physician immigration matters. He was also the immigration legal counsel to the Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates (COGME), the advisory body to the Secretary of Health and Human Services in its study of U.S. immigration policy for International Medical Graduates. In 2012, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Indiana University School of Law for his contributions to the profession and the community. He holds his J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law and was a Fulbright Fellow at the law schools of Harvard University and Moscow State University (Russia).


David A. M.. Ware

Attorney at Law
Seattle, WA

David Ware has been an active NAFSA member with more than 25 years of service, fmr regional team member, and numerous awards for his contributions. His law firm, Ware|Immigration, is one of only a handful nationally with an emphasis both on F, J and academic EB issues. He writes and speaks frequently on immigration issues of interest to the higher education community. Many rating services and publications have favorably recognized him, and he was recently chosen by
“Who's Who International” as one of the 300 top corporate immigration attorneys in the
US. He is also a US News and World Report "Top Tier" lawyer. Active also in CUPA, NACUA, AILA, AIEA.



WS15 - Immigration Concepts for Academic Medical Institutions

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