Cardiologist employed in Utah thanks to J-1 visa program

Dr. John Ryan is a University of Utah cardiologist who was born in Ireland, and trained in the US. He is a recipient of the Conrad State 30/J-1 visa waiver program (or J-1 program), which the Utah Office of Primary Care and Rural Health (PCRH) administers. The University of Utah provided him with an opportunity to serve Utahns while excelling in his field. 

“The University of Utah has a fine reputation and allows physicians to craft a job perfect for them,” Dr. Ryan said. “To be able to create a new program and design it exactly the way we wanted has been extraordinary. The Conrad J-1 visa waiver program made this possible. This is my dream job.” 

– Dr. John Ryan

The J-1 visa program helps recruit physicians to underserved areas. Physicians born outside of the U.S. who complete training within the U.S. are eligible. This allows waiver recipients to begin practicing immediately to care for community members by waiving a requirement to return to their home country for 2 years. 

Dr. Ryan’s advice to other physicians who might qualify for a J-1 visa waiver is to do your homework early on. He suggests choosing a community you can embrace and immerse yourself in, since most providers stay beyond their 3-year required commitment. 

Utah may use 30 J-1 waivers annually, beginning October 1 and ending on September 30. Twenty slots are available for those working in a facility located in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). The 10 remaining slots are available for physicians practicing in a non-HPSA area who work with underserved populations. PCRH considers waiver requests for primary care physicians, specialists, and subspecialists. For more information about Utah’s J-1 visa waiver program, visit

The Utah Office of Primary Care and Rural Health will begin accepting applications for the 2023–2024 cycle on October 1 each year. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.