Do Caribbean Medical Schools Offer Substandard Education?

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For many decades, Caribbean medical schools have been vilified as the havens of substandard education for weak students. But the critics of the schools of medicine in the Caribbean could be wrong.

Thousands of licensed Caribbean medical graduates practice in the United States and Canada. The medical officers are working in hospitals and physician practices across the world and are likely to be mentors to the next generation of the medical fraternity.

The Campaign against Caribbean University Medical Education

Medical schools in the tiny Caribbean island attract thousands of Canadian students, who during the third and fourth years, can get crucial residential training in U.S. and Canadian hospitals.

But in an aggressive campaign, medical schools, the academia, and the medical profession in America often attack the Caribbean schools of medicine, and there is even a petition to the State Boards of Regents to bar student graduates from Caribbean schools using Canadian hospitals as practice campuses.

The Caribbean schools could be in jeopardy because the small islands lack enough hospitals to offer the hands-on training the student doctors need as a prerequisite for licensing.

Why Foreign Students Study in Caribbean Medical Schools

The competition for admission to the Canadian medical schools is very high. Many bright high school graduates turn to Caribbean medical schools to obtain a medical education.

But how can the applicants decide if the school of medicine in the Caribbean fit their dreams to practice as a doctor?

Evaluating Medical Schools in the Caribbean

The steady rise of Caribbean medical schools in the last four decades is noteworthy. From three medical schools in the 1970s, there are more than 60 medical schools in the Caribbean as listed in the International Medical Education Directory (IMED).

The physicians from medical schools in the Caribbean help so much in the Canadian health care system through the residency programs. The student doctors also help to fill the physician shortage, particularly in primary care medicine.

While the accreditation criteria, the form of studies, and clinical rotations among medical institutions are different, the report by the Education Committee on Foreign Medical Graduates proves that all students graduating from international schools, including the Caribbean, have the qualifications to serve in the Canadian health sector.

Quality of Medical Education in a Caribbean University

A study published in the Academic Medicine assesses the standards of medical education in the Caribbean. When Caribbean medical students sat for the United States Licensing Exam (USMLE), the pass rate on the first attempt for Grenada was 84.4 percent and Dominica 69.7% percent.

Students in a Caribbean university will typically take first five semesters completing basic science courses. The Caribbean university science curriculum is similar to Canadian curriculum. The clinical rotation, as well as the third and fourth year curriculum in a Caribbean school of medicine, resembles the same style in Canadian medical schools. Enrolling in a Caribbean medical school is a good option that will present unlimited opportunities to work as a physician in the future.

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