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Caribbean Medical Schools: What to Consider

Created 01.09.11 by Jessica Freedman, MD
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Whenever I start working with a student who is applying to medical school “in the Caribbean,” I ask them to think about several factors. Some students who attend Caribbean medical schools earn excellent residency positions in the United States; however, prospective students should be aware that the path to becoming a physician as a Caribbean medical student poses unique challenges. As a result, graduating and earning a residency match as a Caribbean medical student requires extra focus, planning, and initiative.

There are so many Caribbean medical schools!

It is essential to realize that all Caribbean medical schools are not created equal. While several well-known Caribbean medical schools have graduated many physicians who now practice, I am always amazed by the number of “new” schools that are established.  All international medical graduates must receive accreditation from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG®); however, currently the only requirements for ECFMG certification are passing the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS exams and having at least four credit years from a medical school listed in the International Medical Education Directory (IMED).

Don’t assume, if you are accepted to “a Caribbean medical school,” that this guarantees a residency match. Caribbean medical schools are for-profit entities and, based on my experience, some schools accept students whose backgrounds and academic records predict a likelihood of failing the USMLE Steps 1 and 2 (CK) which all students must pass before they start residency training. Caribbean medical schools will not reveal how many students enroll as first year students yet fail out and never “make it off the island” for third year rotations.

Gauging the quality of the medical education you will receive at a particular Caribbean medical school isn’t easy, but you can get an idea of how successful graduates are in obtaining residency training positions in the United States by considering several factors.

What are the school’s average USMLE Step 1 scores?

The results of the USMLE Step 1, which is taken after the preclinical years, become an extremely important factor for residency match success. Why? The USMLE Step 1 score is the only objective piece of data that program directors can use to compare medical students and residency applicants. The USMLE Step 1, which was initially designed as a qualitative test to evaluate competency, has evolved into a quantitative test, so the higher your score, the better. When I was a medical student, it was not the norm for US medical students to prepare for the USMLE by taking “prep courses.” I find that because of the technology now available, however, most students enroll in courses, often online, and are achieving high scores. A great USMLE Step 1 score will not, however, guarantee a match in the more competitive specialties. It is important to consider the other “ingredients” that lead to success.

Where do students complete third and fourth year clerkships?

 

It isn’t enough if a Caribbean medical school promises “rotations in US hospitals.” Prospective students should know where, specifically, students rotate, the number of students on each rotation, and the process for designing the clinical schedule. Completing a rotation in internal medicine at a hospital with an ACGME approved residency program, for example, would be considered more challenging and would most likely yield a better foundation of knowledge and skills in internal medicine than a program without this affiliation. “Academic rotations” are looked upon most favorably by residency admissions committees, and letters of reference from academic faculty also carry more weight than those from community physicians.

Some Caribbean students also complain to me that rotations are becoming too crowded; they feel they are competing for patients and procedures and are receiving little teaching. Thus, it is important to know how many students rotate at each clinical site and how many other schools also rotate through those sites since many hospitals have students rotating from several medical schools at one time.

A recent article in The New York Times outlines how New York State medical schools currently are addressing these issues by trying to limit the rotations that Caribbean medical students complete at New York hospitals. New York medical school officials are concerned that the large numbers of Caribbean students at these hospitals dilute US medical students’ education and cause rotations to be crowded. It is unclear how this “turf war” will play out; Caribbean medical schools pay hospitals large sums of money for their students to rotate. St. George’s Medical School, for example, recently signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) and sends about 1,000 students to these hospitals each year. Under New York State’s proposal, Caribbean medical students would be permitted to do only fourth elective rotations at New York hospitals, which poses special challenges that the article did not address. (Read Dr. Freedman’s published letter to the editor in response to the New York Times article.)

Does the Caribbean school encourage away electives?

Doing “away electives” at hospitals where students hope to do residency is often a key to success.  Students complete away electives not only as “audition electives” but also to receive letters of reference from faculty at these programs. All international students, whether they are US citizens or not, sometimes find it difficult to obtain away electives at their “ideal” hospitals; being aware of this fact is essential for planning.

US medical students use the Visiting Students Application Service (VSAS) to obtain many away electives. Because this service is run by the Association of American Medical Colleges,  Caribbean students cannot use it and therefore must apply individually to each hospital at which they want to rotate. And even if their residents are international medical graduates, many hospitals have policies that prohibit them from allowing these students to rotate. Some hospitals, including some HHC hospitals that recently contracted with St. George’s, will allow St. George’s students to rotate but won’t allow other Caribbean medical students to do rotations. Individual departments within a hospital also may have specific policies regarding international rotators. For example, one department within a hospital might allow international students to rotate while another might not. Therefore, it may require a tremendous amount of persistence for Caribbean medical students to obtain away rotations, and students should start seeking out information regarding which hospitals accept international medical students as rotators when they choose their desired specialty.

Where do the Caribbean school’s students match?

The be all and end all indicator of success is a medical school’s match list, many of which are published on schools’ websites. But, interpret these lists carefully. First of all, you want to know what percentage of graduating fourth year students obtain categorical matches. Why is this significant? Preliminary positions are only one year and do not guarantee a specialty match or board eligibility. Categorical positions, on the other hand, are specialty matches and do guarantee board eligibility. Many published school lists do not distinguish between preliminary versus categorical matches.  One major Caribbean medical school recently disclosed at a faculty meeting that 15% of its graduating students did not obtain categorical positions last year. This information, is not easy to obtain, however, and for obvious reasons schools rarely disclose this raw data to prospective students and their parents.

How do US citizen IMGs perform nationally?

It is also essential to review the national data to see how US citizen IMGs fare in the match. In the past, the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) released data that divided applicants into only two categories: US seniors and independent applicants, which limited interpretation of this data (See Charting outcomes in the match). Recently, however, the NRMP has started to further categorize this data, clarifying how each group performs. There is now a category for “US Citizen IMGs” and, even though this includes all US citizen international graduates, a large number of this group are Caribbean students.

The number of active US citizen IMGs in the 2010 Match was 3,695, which is 1,260 more than five years ago; 1,749 were matched to PGY-1 positions, down 0.5 percentage points from last year. (Resource: http://www.nrmp.org/data/resultsanddata2010.pdf) This data may be misleading, however, since it is not clear how many of these 3,695 students received “prematch” offers and therefore did not go through the match. Only international medical students and international medical graduates can accept “prematch” offers; US medical students cannot receive prematch offers.

Reviewing this data further, most US citizen IMGs match in internal medicine and family medicine; it is extremely difficult to match in competitive specialties. In 2010, for example, only one US citizen IMG matched in plastic surgery, otolaryngology, and dermatology. (Resource: http://www.nrmp.org/data/resultsanddata2010.pdf)

Looking Ahead

 

The ECFMG announced that, effective in 2023, all applicants and physicians “will need to graduate from a medical school that has been appropriately accredited” to receive ECFMG certification. This means that the medical school will need to be accredited through the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or other organizations such as the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME). Physicians must be ECFMG certified to take the USMLE Step 3 and to obtain an unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States. Therefore, holding Caribbean and all international medical schools to higher standards will force schools to create curriculums that lead to better medical educations and graduates’ success.

Dr. Jessica Freedman, a former emergency medicine associate residency director and medical school admissions member at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, is president of MedEdits Medical Admissions. MedEdits offers advising and professional editing for applicants to medical school, residency, fellowship, and post baccalaureate and special master’s programs. Like MedEdits on Facebook.

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  1. Caribs says:

    For profit diploma mills shouldn’t be allowed to take our financial aid dollars for a substandard product. They also shouldn’t be given any priority in gme or med school rotations. The author is mistaken that we owe anything to the education of these for profit mills as a society.

    I’ll take American grads or highly trained foreign grads only, thanks!

    1. mike says:

      Well it sound like you are a female of minority descent. I on the other hand live in the cruel unforgiving world of white males where we are not allowed to go to US medical schools without flawless records. Pure and simple I am leaving the country to go to medical school because of my sex and skin color. My scores are not low either. They just aren’t high enough to compete for the few spots reserved for white males. I have to go to the caribbean not because I don’t qualify for US medical schools, but because I am not wanted due to the color of my skin and what lies beneath my clothes. I’m not looking to argue the point. I just think that it should be addressed. Also, I don’t even need student aid. I can pay my own way, but unfortunately that also puts me at a disadvantage due to the fact my family background wasn’t economically difficult enough. Why this matters in the admissions process I have no idea. There are only three things that are needed to make a good doctor: intelligence/knowledge, compassion, and solid problem-solving skills.

      1. ColumbiaMed says:

        Mike – you sound like the guy who is going to use affirmative action to justify going to sub-par school in the Caribbean. I love it when white male pulls out a racism card. Truth be told – you were simply not good enough. I went to an Ivy league for my undergrad, went to a public high school outside of DC, worked hard, am fairly smart and I am now going to med school at Columbia. (I meant Columbia University) – I don’t want Mike to think it was somewhere south again and relate to me. You are not smart enough, or were not willing to put in the hard work. Which is why you will probably only end up getting a residency only as a general physician in a fairly shitty hospital. Caribbean schools are institutions that open back doors into our profession. Mike bought himself a medical degree – very different that actually getting one.

      2. Charles says:

        Very said commentary Mike. My nephew is white and male and will be attending a medical school in the United States. All it takes is the right grades, scores and volunteer background. Apparently you were not good enough and it had nothing to do with your sex or race, but you might as well blame someone other than yourself.

    2. John says:

      I will be sure to send Andrew Wakefield your way.

      1. sujana pulivarti says:

        Obviously all of you people are white and have no idea what it is like to be South Asian American applying for medical school. The bar is not even. We make up 30% of the medical field yet 5 % of the population. My brother got an average 31 and a decent gpa, research at sloan kettering, helped run a clinic in India and he still did not get into a US medical school. He ended up going to a Carribean school and has not gotten matched. Unlike you egostical monsters who seem so obsessed with money and prestige. You think that kind of attitude is going to make you a good doctor by belitting other poeple telling them that they are not smart or good enough. How dare you. Are you planning on treating your patients like that? Furthermore, medicine is not that hard to understand. It does not take a genius, it take s hard work. Practicing medicine is not a science, your job is pretty much prolonging people’s lives. You are medical student. You did not invent the cure for cancer nor do I think you are able to. I feel extremely sorry for people like you; you ne wayeed validation because you’re insecure. Oh, and by the way, I’m not dumbass, nor do i consider myself a genius just because I graduated from Columbia Law and have MPH from U Penn.

  2. Mike says:

    Regardless of where someone attended medical school, they will never be able to legally see a patient in the U.S. without first completing residency in the U.S. and passing multiple certification and accreditation exams. Accusing physicians who are Board Eligible or Board Certified of being substandard or incompetent simply because they attended a school in the Caribbean only fuels the incorrect characterization that they are incompetent and “paid” for their diploma without achieving a level of competence that renders them safe or qualified to treat people within their specialty. Regardless of where someone obtained their M.D. or D.O., if they’ve successfully completed an accredited American residency (especially if they’ve obtained Board Certification) and hold a license to practice, they are every bit as qualified to practice their profession as physicians who graduated from U.S. medical schools.

    1. Rick says:

      Well said Mike, the US has a process to keep the bad doctors (wherever they go to school) from practicing medicine. The certifications and residency requirements are there for a reason, to make sure the doctors know what they are doing/

  3. […] Caribbean Medical Schools: What to Consider|Student Doctor Network __________________ "Stop making excuses and just do it" Proud Member of the 99/99 Club Quote: […]

  4. Concerned Medical Student says:

    Caribs or wtf is your name….It is quite obvious from your comments you are very mean and undereducated individual. You donot know any thing about caribbean schools and should try to educate yourself. There are many for profit schools in the US that’s what ‘PRIVATE’ schools are….Not because of these schools are classified as ‘Not for profit’ means that they do not make profits….In fact, I am a medical student currently rotating in New York City and I am quite familiar with the rectoric that is fueling this nonsense about caribbean students are taking away rotations from american schools…This is so because a couple of american medical students found out that many of the caribbean students that they were rotating with had higher boards scores than most of them and the following week many of the new york medical students suddenly started complainting about not getting enough patients and rotation time. I don’t believe caribbean schools are to blame because there many hospitals in New York City and if there is a problem with the amount of students in any one rotations the regulatory agency or the hospital could set a standard. NYCHHC knew how many students they were accepting when they signed contracts with SGU and Ross and other caribbean schools so if NY medical students want to complaint they can do it to the NYCHHC or stop being jealous and study hard and get higher board scores.

  5. Kris Li says:

    D.O.s can take pre-match offers from the ACGME match

  6. Marcus_Garvey says:

    An article regarding Caribbean medical schools should differentiate “offshore” schools from the regal University of the West Indies. Graduates from this prestigious institution don’t just match, they become Broad of Trustees members, Deans and Department Chairs.
    Reference: Google.com

    1. well versed says:

      Actually “Mr Garvey” UWI students have a near impossible time matching in the US. Why? Because the school is Caribbean minded. They prepare their students to work in the Caribbean and perhaps the UK. Take a quick look at their syllabus and you’ll see. They don’t prepare their students for the USMLE and they don’t do their clinical rotations in the US. That’s two of the most important benefits of the other Caribbean med schools; they’re preparing students to come back to the US, not stay in the Caribbean. Don’t get me wrong UWI is a great school -if you plan on staying in the Caribbean. For UWI grads to obtain US residencies they would have to complete the USMLE- all steps and they’ll need US doctors to recommend them for said residencies. Thus UWI grads would have to go the ‘observership’ route which is not always easy to get. This would allow them to get the necessary exposure to US hospitals and their treatment protocols. When Americans refer to Caribbean Med School they’re thinking about UWI because it’s not catering to the needs of American students who ultimately plan to go back and practice in the US. So please don’t get offended by the opinions of other people about Caribbean schools, because I can guarantee you UWI is not one of the schools they’re referring to.

      1. well versed says:

        *they’re not thinking about UWI*

  7. hard beef says:

    all of these diploma mill med schools in the caribbean should be shut down and their graduates should be stripped of their degree.

    im sick of all the trash from the caribbean coming to my hospitals in the us

  8. Sandy says:

    Caribbean schools are nothing more than diploma mills which rob the US taxpayers of student loan funds and ruin lives. When your school’s top match is LSU-Lafayette Family Practice, you know you’re a worthless place.

    Seriously, who wants to spend >300k to get a fake M.D. degree based on USMLE prep courses and “clinical rotations” in the NYC area which amount to nothing more than an observership?

    Why is anyone listening to this lady who wrote this article, anyway? Let’s get a REALITY check and have one of the unemployed, unmatched carib grads write an article about “how great” the caribbean “schools” are.

    1. Arjun says:

      Student loans are by definitions loans that are paid back with interest by Caribbean medical graduates. I fail to understand the robbing part.

      Being a Caribbean medical graduate requires the same amount of years of training, study and work ( 6+ years after an undergraduate degree). Anyone off the street cannot pass the USMLE without a significant amount of effort.

      An individual who did not do well in the Caribbean is not representative of the majority of students who work incredibly hard during their education.

      1. HYP says:

        If you worked incredibly hard during your education, you wouldn’t be in a Caribbean medical school in the first place. If you did work incredible hard during your education and still couldn’t get into an American med school, you just aren’t cut out for it. You aren’t entitled to being a doctor.

      2. Adam NP says:

        If they pass all of their steps… Then they should be allowed to practice. Thought these standardized tests are suppose to ensure we have quality health health care professionals. I mean come on. 4 years of under grad,then med school, steps 1-3. Board license tests. What more do you want. I work at probably the most prestigious medical campus in the country. I know carribbean med students that can diagnose circles around Ivy League trained students. In the end the student will have to own the information to pass the tests. Come on folks put away the egos who gives a crap where you studied from. As long as you pass the standardized test. Then your good enough to practice medicine in America.

      3. Adam NP says:

        Clearly HYP is a shining example on how it’s not a necessity to posses intelligence to graduate medical school.

    2. John says:

      Im a carib student, currently studying for step 1, I was unable to get into a U.S. school but still wanted a medical degree and hopefully someday have a career in medical research, I dont get any loans and would be happy completing a residency in the worthless hospitals you refer to, and continue hopefully into a fellowship program whether you think that program is worthless as well, and hopefully one day maybe pursue a PhD. So now that you understand my goals and story, why in the world would you get mad about someone like me just pursuing my career goals, even though the path isn’t ideal for me, but since Im willing to do it, is that OK with you? Or does the fact that my undergraduate GPA and MCAT scores were not as good as yours, I will never be as smart or successful as yourself?

      1. HYP says:

        Then you should have worked harder to get a better UGPA and MCAT score. You’re not entitled to being a doctor.

      2. John says:

        Really you dont think? Well thanks for letting me know so I can talk with my family about a different career.

        I knew there is a DIRECT correlation between you’re grade in Organic Chemistry and how good of a Physician you are. Especially surgeons, I mean i wouldnt let anybody operate on me without knowing what they got on their MCAT.

        Now all kidding aside i am curious, do you really, genuinely feel as though I should not be allowed to be a doctor because my MCAT score was not quite high enough?
        I’m not trying to be funny Im actually curious if that is what you think or if you are just a tool who thinks hes the man.

      3. mike says:

        John,

        Everyone knows that without being about to draw an aldol condensation there is no way to be a capable physician (sarcasm)

  9. ABC FOB says:

    I am a caribbean grad, now ABIM certified. And eligble to take boards in a subspecialty. None of my patients have had or will have a problem with me being there doc.

    The best thing to do is to educated the public about us “caribb grads” And yes we are US citizens who pay taxes (a lot) and so we should get all the aid we can from tax payers.

    1. Dr. Bob says:

      but please tell me, why is it that you use English incorrectly? Is it there, their, or they’re?

  10. rdht says:

    It is important to distinguish between Caribbean Medical Schools that have rigorous entrance standards – AUC, Ross and St. Georges – and those that do not. The vast majority of Carib Med Schools recruit and retain students who have little hope of gaining a residency. Lumping schools together blurs the distinction between schools that offer professional education and adequate facilities with those opened in abandonded tire shops and shopping malls. The most important question to ask however is why these schools exist at all. What failure of American medical education forces otherwise qualified students offshore to face unknown conditions of study and uncertain futures, when the professional education within the States nearly guarantees success. If Caribbean medical schools are really the equivalent of US schools, they could simply relocate. Because the three schools above do offer decent possibilities, they mask inadequate schools that lure students into their businesses since little distinction is drawn between these schools. I agree with hard beef. Caribbean schools should be forced to comply with LCME accreditation requirements now, which would in essence shut them down. Permitting them to operate for another 12 years will simply perpetuate a system that permits unscrupulous businessmen to fleece unsuspecting, naive or self-deluded students by the thousands.

    1. thedrjojo says:

      These schools exist for two reasons: 1) because the overwhelming desire of people to be doctors, and the inability of people to accept reality in many cases. Some can cut it, but most have over-inflated egos and sense of their abilities, and have the incorrect notion of the american dream that a little hard work, determination, and good luck, is all that is needed to succeed, and forget that there are intrinsic differences between some people, and no matter how much I try, i will never be an NBA player, just like no matter how much many of these people try, they won’t be able to be a doctor
      2) There is not enough medical schools and medical school spots, yes. This is an artificially designed construct so that the limiting step in the mechanism of entry into the medical field is not getting hired/getting a residency, but getting into medical school. This differs from all other educational institutions. How many law jobs are there per graduates? with 24000 residency spots and 16000 medical school graduates, there is a significant deficit of trainees for the available resident spots, and so someone (foreign grads, in all flavors) must fill those. So, as long as there is a market need, then there will be a market. If there were more ACGME medical students than residency spots, the need for caribbean schools would disappear, and so would the “degree” factories as some have called it. But they fulfill a true need, both for those that would make it into medical schools if the supply was to truely meet the need (reason #2), and those that won’t take no for an answer (reason #1)

  11. Very Concerned Doctor says:

    Windsor University School of Medicine (WUSM) in St Kitts is the WORST medical school in the Caribbean. It is also known as Windsor Medical School and is a school filled with drug dealers, p0rn stars, strlppers, alcoholics, and drug addicts. It only has an 18% pass rate on the USMLE Step 1, so that means 88% of its medical students fail and never become doctors. Only 2% out of its thousands of students have ever attained a residency. Even if you fail the USMLE Step 1 multiple times, you can still finish 3rd and 4th year rotations at the hospitals. That’s ridiculous! In fact that university has no admissions or screening process. Anyone with a pulse is admitted. Students never even attend college or take the MCAT exam and are still let into the school. They don’t even do background checks at this school, they take everyone that applies, which explains all the criminals at the school. Just google Pauline Wiltshire, Dalevir Pannu, and Toto Kaiyewu. The entire university consists of a bunch of 18 year olds who drink, party, have sex, fight, and end up in jail. The university has no school email account nor do they have any class schedules. How on earth can you be a medical student if there are no schedules or any exam dates? The only way to learn about upcoming activities is through facebook. Your credits won’t even transfer to another caribbean medical school. Dr. Srinivas Gaddam who is the dean of the school is also a drug dealer and a criminal coke dealer and has severe anger management issues. He threw a desk at a male medical student who challenged him. If you fail all your classes at Windsor, you get to continue on and not have to repeat anything. If you fail your USMLE Step 1 or Step 2 even 20 times, you are still allowed to stay in the school and move on to 3rd year and 4th year. That’s terrifying! Honestly, Windsor University School of Medicine will be shutting down soon.

    1. Aspiring Doc says:

      “It only has an 18% pass rate on the USMLE Step 1, so that means 88% of its medical students fail and never become doctors. ”

      The math here doesn’t add up.

      1. roboflytrap says:

        Doesn’t add up because 18+88=106. You mean 82%. But those are incredibly terrible prospects, yes.

    2. sujana pulivarti says:

      Have you ever been to any of these schools yourself? Med school students in general have predeliction toward substance abuse. They binge drink after a big exam, stimulant , cocaine abuse. Oh, by the way? Where did theCraiglist killer go to medical school? Was it St.Kitts? No,no, he went to school in Boston. my friend went to st.kitts and she is starting her residency in pediatrics this coming fall. You people are incredible morons. Yes, they should get rid of them, but the MDs who graduated from there and did all their clinical work , passed the USMLE, what else do you want. And talk about for-profit schools; most you greedy egostical (sorry for spelling, need to get my eyes checked) morons are going to join LLCs and violent Anti-Kickback, Stark Laws.

  12. Guest says:

    I know couple of people who did not meet the match for residency in March 2011 and few had applied for the second time and got denied. I can understand a person who was denied the first time trying again, but what about the person that was denied the second time, go for the third or study something else? Waiting a year is long enough, I can’t imagine what goes in the minds of those who had re-applied and got denied the second or third time. If a person can’t get a residency after 2 or 3 attempts what good is the degree? It’s a worthless degree. The pain of the medical student feeling like a complete failure and the money lost to a worthless degree and coming back home feeling horrible.

    The problem with the Caribbean Medical Schools is they accept students who have no chance of graduating or being competitive for the match. It’s about collecting the fees from the students and letting them deal with their problems or challenges. It is about profit. It could spare a lot of pain, dollars, and such if the these institutions be rigorous in their admission process so that qualified people can compete for medical school seats so they can be prepared for the obstacles that they will face for clinical, residencies and fellowships. One thing, I like about US medical schools is that they are tough in the selection process, I do agree there aren’t many seats for the number of qualified people, but seriously if a person has low grades and low MCATs or average scores do not get into a US medical school. They are given a thin letter that says rejection. Seriously, people who do not have competitive marks should not go into medicine because the chances of passing the tests and such are slim. It’s better to get a degree in something else.

    As far residencies, they are becoming very competitive it has to do with the number of applicants from US medical schools having more seats, new MD/DO schools, foreign medical students, and people who are making a career change and deciding to go into medicine. I expect a lot of people not making the match because there aren’t many slots for residencies in the US added there are too much competition. Even the US medical students must be aware that if there scores aren’t high, then expect a Caribbean or foreign or US medical student attaining that spot. The competition is fierce and they will be challenges for many in order to become a licensed doctor. I expect 2012 match to be more challenging than this year’s. If a person is pressured into becoming a doctor, then do something else, if you have low marks and MCAT scores really consider doing something else then heading of to the Caribbean. Any person that seriously wants to become a doctor must do a lot research online, talking to other doctors or medical school people, and more. Don’t believe all the stats that are said about certain schools and what they say especially these profit schools or Caribbean schools that tend the exaggerate.

    Research a lot before applying to medical schools and be prepared of any roadblocks.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I believe that US medical graduates are jealous of FMG’s. Here’s their frame of mind: I worked my ass off to get into medical school, I didn’t party, I lost lots of sleep, stressed over the Mcat, etc. Its not fair that other people can do what I do when they didn’t put in the effort I put in (wa wa wa). Get over it!

      FYI: Their are a lot of reasons people do not get the necessary stats to get into medical school. Maybe they had a bad family life, had to work more, weren’t mature enough, etc. It is not fair to assume they were too dumb to get into US med schools. I had anxiety issues to deal with and after dealing with that problem, I became an A student. I went to AUC and became an Anesthesiologist. I could have gotten into a US school, but I did not want to wait any longer or apply again. I got into a few D.O schools, but why the hell would I want a D.O when I can get an M.D

      I am an American and I must say our attitudes towards others are disgusting. We think that it has to be American to be great! Well, I have some news for you: we suck! The greatness of America wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for these foreign educated people. Its not just medical school, but any school.

      Anyway….your insulting your fellow Americans b/c its American students that go to these schools, and American professors teaching too. Some schools are crap, but so are some American schools. In fact every school is for profit…don’t believe that….don’t pay your tuition and see if they will keep you. How many college graduated squander government loans every year? Their are only three Caribbean schools that get FAFSA: ROSS SGU and AUC.

      Caribbean schools such as Ross, SGU, AUC, Saba, and AUA give people a second chance. Are you so smug that you don’t believe in second chances?! Some people will not get their act together as quickly as others can, but their not less than you. In the end we all take the same exams and have to jump through the same hoops to become doctors.

      I conclude that your beliefs are invalid and ridiculous. Its like telling someone you wouldn’t want a black physician to operate on you b/c he got into med school with a lower GPA or due to affirmative action. The boards are the boards, anyone that passes them deserves respect. Don’t belittle people based on small minded points of view.

      You sound like a bigot. If anything your the disgrace to your profession, not the FMG’s. Only losers have to bring other people down. These FMG’s proved themselves by passing the USMLEs! There is nothing to debate about! I wouldn’t be surprised if you white. Ass hole!

      SIncerely,

      an American born FMG.

  13. Guest says:

    I went to an Open House for one of the Top 3 Caribbean Schools in one of the cities in the US and this was in the year 2004. I was impressed with the presentation show, speakers, and all. The event was packed with people that many people had to stand. The speakers and medical students graduates made it seem that going to medical school at this school was better than attending a US medical school. It had given me an impression that if you had a bachelors degree and decent MCAT scores that you will be enrolled into their school and will become a medical doctor. The speakers talked about their experiences and the residencies that they had and what other students gotten in. They had one speaker who went to Harvard for dermatology. To me, it didn’t seem that going to Caribbean was a bad idea if a person wanted to badly become a doctor. Since average grades and scores seem alright for admissions to accept students.

    At the end, of the event I spoke with my family member about the event, but I had decided to pursue another branch of science that was my primary choice. I was impressed by this school and their students though. In 2008, I researched about medical schools and the process because I saw more people that I knew heading to medical schools in general. I researched online and gotten feedback from students from medical students in the US and Caribbean. I realized that the school that I went to the Open House in 2004, did not talk about the extra hurdles realistically that a student would face and that their was no guarantee of a residency spot in the US. This school has a website of their students who had matched or gotten pre-matched through the affiliated hospitals, but does not show the actual statistics of how many students entered into the medical program for that year and follow up of how many had gotten a residency successfully. There are no specific statistics of this, which it makes people believe that most are obtaining the residencies. I had read many articles about medical schools and caribbean schools and I have a new perspective about medical school.

    The problem is in 2004, I was given that impression that anyone with decent scores can become a doctor if studying at the Caribbean. I realized recently that there are people who get scooped up into thinking they will become doctors and there are many who don’t become doctors. They come home with debt and strike out in the first year or unable to get a residency and give up after 2 attempts or 3 and with massive debt.

    I really hope that US has stringent requirements that really test whether a person is doctor material or not. It’s not only for foreign medical students, but everyone. It scary that institutions take students with no Mcat’s or low or average MCAT’s and its about profit. I really feel that US in general allows these shady schools to collect US dollars and leave the student as a victim. For example, in US there are many for-profit schools like University of Phoenix, Westwood College, shady online programs, and others that scam students and military people who think their time, effort, and money will pay off. These profit schools are like leeches that suck the money from the students and usually the students end up having debt to their eyeballs and not getting a degree or education that they truly deserve. I feel that Caribbean schools have become a big business and they have made a lot from their marketing and all. How many students did not graduate medical schools and got scammed from them? How many students dropped out after not getting residencies from multiple tries? People need to research a lot before considering of going to a school. Go to a reputable school and that will help you succeed in your dreams whatever that may be.

  14. Kyle says:

    I’m not through school yet but am attending a caribbean medical school. People who think the US school admittance procedure is better is simply retarded. GPA’s are meaningless! While the MCAT is a good indicator the kids going to the US schools take prep classes for the MCAT, exactly how they complain about people in caribbean schools taking prep classes for the USMLE. The question really is who makes the best doctors? The best doctor is the one who’s doing the job they want to do. The elitism in the US medical system hurts the people that we as doctors should care about most, the patient. Why is derm so hard to get into? Because it is harder then being a surgeon? Or is it because they make 400k+ a year with weekends off and no on call? I know capable students that are terrible at standardized tests and failed out of school, I also know horrible students that I pray fail their steps, I know amazing students that I would take over any US student yet they are going to a caribbean school because of this horrible elitism that exists at all levels of the medical educational system.

    1. bob says:

      Fewer US medical students take prep classes. There is no time for prep classes.

    2. HYP says:

      “People who think the US school admittance procedure is better is simply retarded. GPA’s are meaningless! ”

      LOL

    3. John says:

      You are immature, do not know that doctors must ALSO be competent (and for a country, getting the most competent doctors when there is competition is the right thing to do). The acceptance of someone who thinks GPA’s are really “meaningless” is the reason that most Carribean med schools look like scams that compromise the patient’s life. If you wanted to get into med school you would have done your MCAT (which you have lots of time to study for) and scored in the top ranges, compensating for your low GPA (either due to your laziness or university’s grade deflation), rather than attending a Carribean Med school…

  15. Jonathon says:

    A lot of uneducated people commenting on this. This includes Carib, Sandy, and Hard Beef. They are either US med students who lost their places to carib med students and are venting it out or they are members of the uneducated public (probably with only high school degree) who have no idea what they are talking about. Another possibility is that they are all one idiot person who logged on 3 times on different names.
    Many foreign schools are incompetent and don’t give adequate training, but I think we should soon differentiate Carib/Canadian/Aus/UK med schools from the rest of the world med schools. Sure they are not as great as US Schools, but knowing a friend who went to St George and for me going to one of the worse MD schools in the US, I think St George edges Meharry and probably a lot of other low tier US schools out. Hell, when we left college with degrees from COllege of Bio Sciences, I had a 3.5, and he had a 2.8 (never studied and always partied in undergrad). MCAT wise I had a 32M and he he had a 31Q. Somehow he got a 240 on the USMLE and i got the average 210. I don’t know about the rest of people in his school, but I definetely regard him as an intelligent guy. Maybe its because of my friend, but I look at fellow Carib doctors as people who were party animals in college or that went through hard personal times (yes i judge people). I do not look at them as dumber, because from personal experience they are about the same level as me in knowledge of medicine. I’m pretty sure Caribs look at US MDs as people who were nerds all their life and who never had fun, but oh well. Key thing is, we all live in the United States, the number 1 country in the world. You really think the US is stupid enough to admit people from other countries as doctors when they aren’t competent? To all you people posting, do you have any idea how the NRMP matching goes and how hard it is to get into many residencies? I suggest if you don’t know, then shut your mouth, because anybody who has worked with doctors from anywhere in the world in the same field know that these guys know their stuff, otherwise they wouldn’t have got the residencies that you got (unless both you and them are dumbarses)

  16. James says:

    Interesting article… To those who are bashing Caribbean medical schools and graduates, remember we are paying our loans back and are not stripping any taxpayer from their money. There is no financial aid or loans that we don’t have to pay back. All loans are to be paid back. In the Caribbean, we have to study harder and prepared far better than a US medical school to compete for the same residency program and position. Enoug is enough and stop this double standard labeling Caribbean grads as incompetent and not being good physicians.

  17. Raul says:

    Interesting article, but I don’t think people should get so worked up over it. I’m a Caribbean Medical student and I recieved a pretty good education and my USMLE 1 score was above the U.S. national average. Personally I don’t think its wise to go on with who is better or worse etc. Its really an individual call. Some kids at my school were terrible students and others weren’t. Some schools have lots of issues I agree. Its up to the student to really assess this and leave if they don’t feel the quality is there. No big deal really. Lets just keep chuggin along and provide good healthcare to our country regardless of of where we trained. Talk is cheap. Its better to reserve conversation and show what you can do.

    1. John says:

      I think this is a good statement, some U.S. students are pretty harsh, when they really dont know the education or experience of the caribbean. They just know what they read online somewhere. But it is understandable to some degree I guess, but they are a bit extreme, esp since you cant be a doctor in the U.S. unless u pass exams required. So the requirement is the same, i think it would be different if IMG’s took a different test or something but we have to pass the same minimum requirements as everyone else. But the truth is if u keep chugging along soon the voices of those few toolbags seem to fade I think.

  18. Carrie says:

    Ok so i am considering going to a Caribbean Medical school and I was doing some research and came up on this article. Does anyone have any inside knowledge on UMHS in St. Kitts. I know its not one of the big 4 but I was thinking about applying to it. Any thoughts on my chances of geting into a residency program? passing the USMLE? etc.

    1. John says:

      Yeah, if you want to be a doctor, dont let anyone say you cant, because there are many reasons why its hard but its not where you start, its where you finish, i dont know much about that school, but im sure you could do it if you work hard.

  19. FutureDoc says:

    I don’t understand where are you guys going with this. Just because someone graduated from a Caribbean medical school it doesn’t mean they aren’t as smart or as dedicated as US med students. The average MCAT score for “some” US medical schools is in the 22-24 range, believe it or not!! Meharry, Morehouse, Howard, New Mexico just to name a few.
    The Average MCAT score for the best Caribbean medical schools in 26-27!! And here I’m specifically talking about St.Georges and AUC, and the same goes for GPA.
    Also what kills many Caucasians in US med school applications (I am ONE), is the minority preference that is given to African Americans and Hispanics. I know people getting into top US med schools with sub 30 MCATs. So, when med school admission committees consider skin color when offering acceptances, know that your healthcare is in going downhill.

    1. mike says:

      OMG THANK YOU FOR BEING A REALIST!

    2. Alfred says:

      I work in a hospital in Dallas and will be attending med school next year. You say the preference given to blacks and hispanics is wrong. I sstrongly disagree! Ive been working at hospitals since the age of 17. The number of white docs outnumber ALL other docs by the truck load. Its a known stat that docs will go back and contribute to their OWN racial community. Thus, we need a good variety of docs not just privileged white kids. I dont expect you to understand because you are, after all,……..white. We arent incompetent doctors. We still have to be just as smart as the next white applicant

      1. Dr says:

        Future Doc makes a strong argument Alfred. I am an African American Surgeon and my patients do not care what my skin color is. They want the smartest possible surgeon operating on them. I respect your opinions and feeling towards diversity in this profession but at the end of the day we have patients lives to account for… save that Affirmative Action bs for the business world.

    3. Anonymous says:

      What does it matter who, how or why they accept? In the end those African Americans and Hispanics have to take the same USMLE you do. BTW its racists like you that lead to the minority preferences. How dare you assume that b/c someone is black or hispanic they are less than you!

      Anyways think what ever you want, but Asian are smarter than white people (i.e., whites are dumber than asians).

    4. sujana pulivarti says:

      You’re a white male–get over it. you know how many obstacles african americans have to face to get into medical schools. Don’t ever complain about about being a white main. You have all the privileges in the world, you get paid more, you can climb up the corporate ladder. I don’t know where the hell you got the presumption that hispanics and African Americans get into top schools with those type of scores. Most of my mryinority friends get 30-32s(this was 7 years ago by the way) and they ended up at Harvard. Why the hell are you tryying to be the victim. I bet you love George Bush is your hero and you’re addicted to Fox Five News. Healthcare is actually going downhill b/c of shitheads like you. I bet you’re in medicine for the prestige and the money.

  20. Olu says:

    I have read a lot of comments regarding medical schools, especially those in the caribbean. I strongly believe that the accredition board in the US provides a benchmark that sets the standard and allows only medical schools that meet the set creteria to pass through.
    There are good medical schools in the caribbean. Aspiring students need to research the school before making a move.
    People should also be free to make their opinion knwon especially those who have suffered in the hands of caribbean medical schools.
    Thank you.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I agree, Caribbean schools have to be accredited. California and NY does not favor to anyone. If the school is accredited, it means they are acceptable and not a scam.

    2. George says:

      I completely agree. It doesn’t matter if a doctor received his/her education in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean or Germany. If they are intelligent enough to pass the accreditation exam in the U.S., then they are worthy to practice in the U.S.
      Why would a patient be concerned about where their doctor got their education? They passed their exam and are qualified to practice. By rights, if they were not educated enough or skilled enough to practice medicine, then they would have failed their examination or out of medical school. I personally have not taken any accreditation exams, but I would hope they contain in depth questions and fully test the knowledge of an individual wanting to practice medicine, and are not just test prospective students can study for a couple of months and do well. If the latter is true, then maybe we should be pointing the finger at the U.S. committee who designs and evaluates the accreditation exams, not the Caribbean schools. After all, a well-designed exam should be able to evaluate a potential doctor’s competency and intellect.

  21. fisher says:

    bottom line for any medical student has got to be “healthcare of the highest calibre”.
    what difference does it make whether you qualified in Timbuctu ? –as long as you pass USA requirements –if you want to make a life in USA ???
    there’s always going to be the “clever ones’ and the “get by” ones in all societies !
    As long as an individual does his job with integrity, passion and a true love for “saving life” does it matter whether the “outsider” outsmarts a US med. student ?? i think not.
    Everybody in life has a different timeline when they are going to be at their best, their peak, whether you came from harvard or timbuctu !!!!
    Your own drive determines your achievments. period.
    dont knock others for your own failings

  22. caribaddy says:

    The amount of misinformation about Caribbean schools is ridiculous on both sides of the argument. There are Carib schools that grossly misrepresent themselves to prospective students, and there are U.S. doctors/students/hospitals that vehemently discriminate against Caribbean graduates who are in many cases just as qualified (and sometimes more qualified) as any US educated doctor. I am currently a Caribbean student about to finish basic science at one of the more highly regarded island institutions. I am offended by the very idea that anyone would call my school a diploma mill. I (and those of my classmates still left) have NEVER worked so hard to earn a degree (and to the individual who will tell me I should have worked harder in undergrad: My family is poor so I paid for undergrad myself by working full time and going to school, a stupid decision that left me with a 2.7GPA that not even a 32 MCAT could fix. So yes, I should have worked harder at school instead of putting so much effort into paying for it). While admissions to Caribbean schools may be more lax than those of American institutions, at my university the actual program is far more rigorous and unforgiving than the admissions standards would leave you to believe. Of the 110 students that started, 65 are left from my original class. The rest have either succumbed to the school’s strict academic policy (if you fail 2 classes you are expelled, if you fail one class you repeat it and get put on academic probation for 2 semesters), or transferred to another school that was less academically demanding/less stressful. At my university we are fighting to GET our diplomas. The school does anything but hand them out like candy. At the end of basic science, the students who have made it through this crucible of a program sit for the same Step1 board exam as the U.S. students (and, not surprising after all that culling of students over 5 semesters, we generally score on par or better than the US testers). LASTLY, my school is not entitled to US federal loans because it was opened in 1986 and did not get grandfathered into the Title IV legislation. This means I am STILL paying for my own education, not dollar one of taxpayer money has helped me get here. So let’s recount: I scored above average on the US standardized MCAT exam, I go to a school with ridiculous academic expectations that weed out the students incapable of passing the US standardized board exams, I get no government handouts and worked my tail off to self fund this whole venture. Still think I am unqualified to be in the same rotation as a US grad? Yes, there are trashy diploma mills down here with individuals incapable of achieving anything close to a passing score on a board exam, but there are also very good schools with motivated, hard working, passionate, intelligent people, who want nothing more than to genuinely EARN an M.D. and be a good doctor. Don’t discriminate because you see “Caribbean” on the white coat, until you get all the facts.

    1. ME says:

      What Carib school are you currently enrolled in?

    2. michael ryan says:

      Which school are you talking about?

  23. Bricky says:

    I didn’t get into a US medical school with a 35 mcat, also graduating from an ivy league school with a B gpa. It was rough learning that i’d have been better off being the big fish in a little pond at a smaller school where i could have gotten a 3.8-4.0 and actually been considered. But, since my Caribbean medical school at least considered me, I was given a chance. I just pulled a 260 on my Step I, 40 points and 2 standard deviations above the US national average. I’d like to talk to the person telling me I’m going to be a mediocre doctor because of the location of my school. I’d be more concerned with why, if people like me are being rejected as the low end of applicants, the US national average isn’t at least 250.

    1. Frustrated Central says:

      Hey Bricky,
      If you don’t mind me asking – where did you earn your MD? I am in a similar spot (waitlisted at two schools currently) and I don’t want to waste more time with this horrendous process, and I don’t think that DO is for me.
      I am considering applying to SGU.

  24. Scary Minority says:

    Holy crap, Mike.

    How horrible did you do in school that you have to fear a minority taking your spot?

  25. TawnyaP says:

    Hi, as a student who just finished term 1 at St. George’s I am absolutely appalled at the number of narrow minded adults who make comments on this site. This school is not easy – after 10-12 hours of studying a day, sleepless nights before exams, and collaborative student learning I was able to pass term 1. Unlike North American Schools (pass-fail), a pass is 70%. You score below that, and you must repeat that particular course. And so you must gruel yourself with endless facts for every exam – and always be on your toes – welcome to the medical profession.
    That is also probably why St. George’s pass rates for Step 1 are equivalent and sometimes better than American schools. I did not work as hard as a I could of in my undergraduate career – I was 17 when I started. Schools like these give individuals a second chance – and if you do not take that for granted, it is possible to succeed. I agree these schools are a business – tuition is off the charts – and the funding the facade seems to be more important than the library. There are days where I wonder if the quality of education and lab time matches up to North American schools. But you don’t have time for that kind of pondering in medical school – you make the best of the tools they offer you – and get back to work.

  26. CardioDoc says:

    Well, Well, I think I have just about listened to the worst of the worst..You call yourselves US Cream of the crop Doctors…I am a so called Carib Grad, and CH.Surgeon at a very reputable institution. Most of my former classmates had higher scores than our US counterparts. They are also in highly coveted positions. When it came to performance, we out performed most US based grads that were full of themselves. Now, after not too many years we are in very coveted positions. As a matter of fact, our so called “Carib” applicants seeking positions are quite favorably looked upon, and even much more accepted. I actually chose Med School by location(Sunny Beaches), not because of low scores. Most of you US Docs on the site would flip at which Univ I turned down in the US.. Now remember humility, and attend to your own affairs. Qualified Caribbean Med Grads are doing quite well, and being recognized as excellent MD’s. Don’t even mention Indian Doctors, they are above par..Most Hosp Boards actually recruit them directly..Caribbean students, stay focused and on track. We and those that matter appreciate your worth.Now doctors, act like professionals..remember our oath, and purpose. Good job..

    1. Doctora says:

      Well I too am a foreign medical graduate from the Caribbean . I also chose the Caribbean because of the fabulous weather. You do not have to have a stick up your butt like certain bloggers ( HYP ) to be a great doctor. What makes a doctor is his bedside manners and his ability to relate to the patient as a human being. No matter how smart and pompous you are , that will not a great doctor make. I have a thriving private practice and have been making well over a million dollars since graduation from your abhored Caribbean medical school. Top that with your fancy MCAT scores!

  27. surprised says:

    This is a terrible site. I come from a long lineage of physicians. All I am seeing here is a lack of professionalism between future physicians. Perhaps…

  28. Kim says:

    It seems that no one on this board is considering Canadian medical school applicants stance on this. Canada has only 18 medical schools. The US on the other has 173 medical schools.

    Most Canadian medical schools require way above average GPAs and MCAT scores due to the huge competitiveness to gain admission of one of 18 schools. And many of those schools do not allow out of province applications, so the choices are cut down even more.

    Most US medical schools do not allow Canadian citizens to apply, and if they do, the program fees are triple what US residents pay for the same program. It is very difficult for Canadians to gain acceptance into Canadian or US medical schools. I have a perfect GPA, two Canadian degrees in biology and nursing, a competitive MCAT score, and have been working as a registered nurse for two years! I would say that I am qualified for medical school! But even with all of this, I am having a difficult time getting into a med school in North America and may have to consider a Caribbean school to fulfill my career goals. It’s really sad.

  29. Rich says:

    I’m a tenured professor in a Big 10 medical school. I trained at U Rochester and Mayo Clinic. I’ve taught hundreds of medical students and residents. Lots of good students don’t get into med schools. The lower tier DO schools are relatively easy to get in. So going overseas is not necessarily required to practice medicine. I have had multiple capable students or residents from St George and Ross, though seemingly recently these have a great % of Indian students using off shore schools as a path to immigration. I’m not saying that is bad, just be prepared you MS1 class may be different than you expect.. What scares me are the 2 kids I met who went to St Matthews in London / Uganda and the school closed during their 4th year. I would be very cautious of the schools in Dominican Republic, “small schools” in Caribbean and with the closing of the last 5th pathway programs, Mexico, though many excellent doctors have attended Auto Univ Guadalajara. There are many ways to chase your dream and if you are willing to work and wiling to travel around for rotations it could be a good options. If your goal is to do a residency in the US I feel it would be an advantage to do clinicals in the US. US medical schools have expanded slots 30% in past few years which will make it much more difficult to get residencies as a US- IMG 4 years for now.

    1. Aposteriori says:

      Rich , I am glad you posted being that you offered a clear and concise opinion on the Caribbean alternative to medicine.I must ask though do you feel that going to the Caribbean is a viable option for those looking to practice medicine.I am only referring to the “Big 3″ SGU ,AUC and Ross.It seems that given your position you are qualified to give a sincere answer on the issue.

  30. bohdan says:

    I attended a new, private medical school in Australia and was appalled by the quality of the MBBS program.

    We didn’t write the USMLE; instead, the faculty plagiarized PLAB questions from the website 123doc.com and passed them off as ‘official ____ University Medical Program testing material’ –examinations that determined who would enter the hospital rotations. Naturally the ‘faculty favourites’ who were tipped off about the source of the questions (and the model answers) scored very high on these exams, while the rest of the students struggled to study and learn the chaotic curriculum and achieve a passing grade.

    Don’t believe me? Send an email to the 123doc.com website owner and ask her about this story of faculty and student cheating in a mainstream medical school. Its probably criminal what this uni and some of the students got away with.

    The very top uni admin did their best to deny and cover up what happened, but eventually the AMA learned about it. The dean’s contract was not renewed; his wife, who was dean of clinical studies left soon after; and the head of the medical program stepped down.

    I say, it doesn’t matter what medical school you attend. Grades don’t tell much. Forget the race card. The best doctors probably come from 3rd generation middle-class immigrant families and who worked part-time during the school year and summer. They know the difference between a Robertson and a Phillips screwdriver or how to sew on a button. They got smacked for talking back.

    Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. If it is meant to be, you will become a doctor–whether it be by strolling down easy street, or taking the path less traveled by. You can have a whole wall covered in diplomas and credentials from top schools, and still not garner the respect of your peers or patients.

    http://www.bartleby.com/119/1.html

  31. D says:

    1. Article in most recent edition of JAMA: By 2015 there will be more US medical school graduates from US medical schools than PGY1 positions.

    2. 2012 Residency Matching results: 95% of US grads matched. 49% of US-IMG grads matched.

    Conclusions: Attending a Caribbean medical school is an increasingly risky thing to do, not matter how good your scores are. Without a US residency, you will never get a license to practice medicine in the US.

  32. Old, tired, and done. says:

    American citizens attending offshore schools today is much different than it was thirty years ago when I went to school in Mexico, returned, did a Fifth Pathway (do they even have them anymore?), and got on with things. Today, it’s much more complex, challenging, and outcomes can be dismal. I would not consider someone who graduated a Carib. school and successfully went through all the hoops any less a doc than a US grad. These days, it’s the hoops that separates them from those settling for not going to med school. Many are discouraged, and go to some other professional school only to find themselves deeply in debt, and equally frustrated.

  33. Maybe, Maybe Not says:

    Here is the ultimate test I want any of you to take:

    It is late at night. You wake up with severe abdominal pain.

    You go to the ER. The general surgeon on call is going to examine you for an acute abdomen.

    Would you rather your surgeon be:
    a. An American MD grad
    b. a Carib grad
    c. it just doesn’t matter

    1. D says:

      If the general surgeon on call completed a surgery residency in the US and is board certified in surgery, why should it make a difference?

      I’m more concerned about new graduates of surgery programs who have limited surgical experience and skills, and are not yet capable of operating independently, and know how to do endoscopic procedures but not open if complications occur.

      1. Maybe, maybe not says:

        It is a multiple choice question (kind of like the MCAT, to which a lot of Carib schools don’t require). Assuming all things equal, the only people that would say “it just doesn’t matter” such as yourself are either carib students, carib grads, or pre meds who will be applying to carib. No one else would choose Carib, whether a non-medical or medical person. That is the reality.

    2. John says:

      Wow guy, that was definitely the question of an ignorant undergrad student. Who would I rather have examen me? Hmmmm well, I now have to take into account the many variables that go with that question including the fact that you really have no idea what you are talking about. First off, let’s say I pay some mind to your question. Where did the US student do his resdiency? Where did the caribbean student do his residency? The US med student could have completed his residency at some mediocre hospital compared to the Caribbean student who did his at a great institution. Also, if we really want to get nit-picky, let’s look at their USMLE scores because afterall we know at the point when a med school student has gotten to the Steps, the MCAT and his or her undergrad GPA is a distant memory which means absolutly nothing at all and I mean nothing. Also we could look into malpractice suits and a ton of other variables as well. I am a  medical student at one of the top Caribbean schools. Did I do well on my MCAT?  Nope. Does it matter?, Not at this point. I can say that there really no difference between the material taught in US schools and the top Caribbean schools. We pretty much use all of the same books and mostly follow the same curriculum. I will say that for the most part, US schools are more involved in research if you are into that, but otherwise we are all learning the same thing. Think about this, we all have to take the test that levels the playing field between any medical school student, domestic or foreign. The point is the USMLE doesn’t lie, doesn’t show GPA deflation/inflation and shows a students true colors. That is the test that determines your residency and as you know, the residency is where you really learn how to practice the art of medicine. So in the end, most doctors will tell you they rarely see someone who asks, “what was your undergrad GPA? or what was your MCAT? (most docs probably don’t even remember). Interestingly enough, most doctors dont even  get asked where they went to medical school. Most patients will see a doctor based on word of mouth or insurance coverage. You think people go online and spend days looking at where their doctor went to medical school? The bottom line is they passed med school, proven themselves on the USMLE’s, gotten through residency, get continuing education credits, and get board certified. There are many hurdles which can weed out the weak students. I’m not saying all doctors are perfect because we all know that is far from the case, but I guess to sum up my whole rant in a few words, it’s just that US medical schools and the top Caribbean schools are pretty much neck to neck as far as the material that is required and what the student is taught. In my opinion it is just the locations that differ. The facilities of the school I attend are on par with any other US school, period. The last thing I’ll say is that my school is an accelerated medical school. We do not get summers off. As we all know med school is difficult but when you speed up the curriculum it becomes even harder. Minimum of 10-12 hours a day of studying not including class. The plus is we get done faster than most US students, but you better believe it is the same amount of information.

  34. Guest says:

    People considering Caribbean medical schools should also consider other careers such as dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, etc… These can be rewarding careers, less risky options, and may fit your lifestyle better.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Okay Bigot,

      Dentistry is more competitive than medical school. You can get into medical school, but not dental school. Pharmacy is a lot of chemistry, so it will require a chem head. Chem heads are smarter than doctors. Now I know your an idiot.

  35. Ryan R. says:

    Wow some of these comments are pretty disgusting, and flat out ignorant. People mature at different points in their lives. There are MANY students who struggled with direction and drive in undergrad but truly find themselves in their graduate work. if the Caribbean gives opportunity for a late-bloomer to turn it around, and they still become an excellent doctor in the end, what does it matter? I’ve written more in-depth on who goes to Caribbean medical schools and why these schools are important here: http://www.squidoo.com/caribbean-medical-schools-gpa

  36. Anonymous says:

    To al the other A- holes out there:

    I believe that US medical graduates are jealous of FMG’s. Here’s their frame of mind: I worked my ass off to get into medical school, I didn’t party, I lost lots of sleep, stressed over the Mcat, etc. Its not fair that other people can do what I do when they didn’t put in the effort I put in (wa wa wa). Get over it!

    FYI: Their are a lot of reasons people do not get the necessary stats to get into medical school. Maybe they had a bad family life, had to work more, weren’t mature enough, etc. It is not fair to assume they were too dumb to get into US med schools. I had anxiety issues to deal with and after dealing with that problem, I became an A student. I went to AUC and became an Anesthesiologist. I could have gotten into a US school, but I did not want to wait any longer or apply again. I got into a few D.O schools, but why the hell would I want a D.O when I can get an M.D

    I am an American and I must say our attitudes towards others are disgusting. We think that it has to be American to be great! Well, I have some news for you: we suck! The greatness of America wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for these foreign educated people. Its not just medical school, but any school.

    Anyway….your insulting your fellow Americans b/c its American students that go to these schools, and American professors teaching too. Some schools are crap, but so are some American schools. In fact every school is for profit…don’t believe that….don’t pay your tuition and see if they will keep you. How many college graduated squander government loans every year? Their are only three Caribbean schools that get FAFSA: ROSS SGU and AUC.

    Caribbean schools such as Ross, SGU, AUC, Saba, and AUA give people a second chance. Are you so smug that you don’t believe in second chances?! Some people will not get their act together as quickly as others can, but their not less than you. In the end we all take the same exams and have to jump through the same hoops to become doctors.

    I conclude that your beliefs are invalid and ridiculous. Its like telling someone you wouldn’t want a black physician to operate on you b/c he got into med school with a lower GPA or due to affirmative action. The boards are the boards, anyone that passes them deserves respect. Don’t belittle people based on small minded points of view.

    You sound like a bigot. If anything your the disgrace to your profession, not the FMG’s. Only losers have to bring other people down. These FMG’s proved themselves by passing the USMLEs! There is nothing to debate about! I wouldn’t be surprised if you white. Ass hole!

    SIncerely,

    an American born FMG.

  37. Charles says:

    “Caribbean schools such as Ross, SGU, AUC, Saba, and AUA give people a second chance”…………..

    Quite true. Intepretted to mean that the only reason US students go to a Carribean School is because they cannot get into ANY US medical school.

    1. Doctora says:

      I too am an American born foreign medical graduate and this person who is wondering what country his doctor studied is a complete ass. What difference does it make ? As John stated , patients will see a doctor based on word of mouth, and how well you treat them. Once your patients find out what a stuck up asshole you are , you will have only your stupid American medical school diploma with which to wipe your ass.

  38. mam says:

    completed my MD@UNIREMHOS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE IN 1989, did all my intern and mo training back in my country of origin-SOUTH AFRICA, will admit there were gaps, but worked to overcome those deficiencies-and @ that point samdc were not at all flexible
    but reading and re-visiting basic siciences and clinical medcine with discipline was my success…
    have been in family practice for 20years and have now joined int.medicine @uofs-SOUTH AFRICA to complete a 4yr fcp in medicine

    i would like to repeat myself & say that determination and honest work in health sciences is the key to success and not totally institution based…

  39. Entertained Pre-med says:

    Sooooo funny. Well I got into UF last minute so I won’t have to go Carib. Some of my friends are not so fortunate. I thought i’d show them this article but you insecure, sexually dissatisfied, bullied people ruined it. When I tell my uncle these things (he’s a neurologist who graduated from st. george) he laughs and brags about the 450,000 dollars he made last year after taxes. He deserves every penny. He was CHIEF RESIDENT at his Ohio State University residency. Don’t expect to get a dermatology residency so easily but to say you have no chance of matching well is ridiculous. I would say this. If you didn’t get at least a 24 on the MCAT you are at a disadvantage. If you are someone with a 31+ and didn’t get in for whatever reason, you will definitely be fine getting a match.

    1. Entertained Pre-med says:

      Higher MCAT score usually indicates higher STEP scores which means you have a greater chance at getting your residency. But with so many applicants these days there are lots of people who can’t afford to wait anymore and want to start their education.

    2. mam says:

      your reply is nothing but bordering on stupidity & a rush in your sex hormones-no i did not get into uofs @ the last minute , i have been involved with the department’s
      auxillary campus on a prt time basis-and we do not have the mcat in south africa as we follow the uk system of acceptance into med school…
      so get your facts correct and remember the USA is not the end all criteria for medcal degree quantification…
      also i am not insecure and sexually deprived- in fact married with 3 kids- with my eldest on tract to join health sciences…
      maybe you should leave the confines of your cushioned environment and remember that medicine is not only IQ/STRAIGHT A’S based , but discipline,willingness to learn,lateral sphere of interraction with the department you are in and respect(earn it)
      no amount of attitude or bragging will make you a great physician…
      but i guess you are probably still young and i am sure your hormones will settle with time and you would understand my first comment posted
      i do not see the reasoning in SOOO FUNNY….

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