Wednesday, April 29, 2015

U.S. Citizen Medical School Graduates of Caribbean Medical Schools

I serve on the advisory board of Charlemagne University, a Caribbean medical school, about to be built.

Little is known about Caribbean offshore medical schools.

Yet U.S. citizens who are International Medical School Graduates (IMGs) are educated at medical schools in the Caribbean account for 27% in U.S. residency programs.

An article in the April 30 New England Journal of Medicine goes a long way towards filling the knowledge gap on IMGs. W. Lynn Eckhert, MD, and Marta van Zanten, Ph.D., of Partners HealthCare International in Boston and the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research in Philadelphia, respectively, wrote the article "U.S.-Citizen International Medical Graduates – A Boon for the Workforce?” saying we should should pay attention to offshore medical schools. They can help alleviate U.S. physician shortages.

Here are facts presented in their article.

U.S. citizens represent 38,5% of IMG applicants and 13.7% of all residency applicants.


Caribbean schools are private and for-profit.


More than half of Caribbean medical school graduates enter primary care practice.


Most of their clinical education occurs in the United States.

U.S. IMGs have a 53% success rate in 2014 Residency matches compares to 94% in U.S.traditional medical schools and 78% for U.S. osteopathic schools.

39 offshore medical schools exist in the Caribbean.

Each year more U.S.residency positions are filled by graduates of St. George’s University School of Medicine (Grenada) or Ross University School of Medicine(Dominica) than any single U.S. Medical School.

The average total cost for four years at an offshore medical school is $97,683 compared to an average of $198, 804 at a private U.S. medical school.

The article calls for more information on IMG's exposure to qualified faculty, to research, student advising, and an integrated curriculum, the blending of pre-clinical and clinical studies. Accountability and accreditation oversight, is necessary if offshore medical schools are to continue to supply a substantial number of U.S. physicians, particularly in primary are.



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