Caribbean Medical Schools

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Kizmet, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    For 30+ years, the go-to source for opinions and information on Caribbean medical schools was Carlos Pestana, M.D., Ph.D., at the U of Texas, San Antonio. He regularly visited and checked out dozens of schools, and his two books on the subject were even more opinionated than mine. His books are long out of date, but a lot of the information in them is still sound.

    And with regard to all those fine American medical schools, do not forget the adage: "What do you call the person who finishes at the very bottom of his medical school class?" "Doctor."
  2. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    I'm not afraid of your cookies ;) but I still bet you are an outlier. (Edit to add: you AND Steve) The fact that you guys hang out here makes my case lol. People here geek out on all things education, so it's not a fair assessment to generalize what people here know to that of the population. For Steve's mom to be "top 20" orientated makes her an exceptionally savvy 60+ year old.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2017
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    That she is, although I don't think that sort of discernment is uncommon in the D.C. area.
  4. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    I guess that one reason for the popularity of Caribbean medical schools with American students is the difficulty finding a place in a domestic medical school. I sense that it's very difficult to get the AMA to accredit a new medical school in the United States.

    There are a few new ones. Washington State University has opened a new health science campus in Spokane that's welcoming its first MD class this year. And there seem to be new Osteopathic medical schools popping up every so often. (They typically seem a lot less substantial than the MD schools and presumably are less costly to open.)

    The problem that I have with the offshore medical schools is that they seem to be all over the map in terms of quality. Some are substantial well-funded efforts with reasonably good academic reputations, others appear to be little more than store-fronts.

    What I'd like to see is a credible and internationally recognized accreditor for offshore medical schools. (If something like that already exists, I'm unaware of it.)
  5. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    When I am hunting for a doctor I typically look at medical school and residency. I don't care where a doctor did their undergraduate work (and New York doesn't report it so it is harder to find).

    My wife doesn't. My wife likes to go and meet doctors and see if they are a good "match" and then play it from there.

    But even I, with my due diligence, have been thrown into situations where I don't know my provider's provenance. Happens pretty frequently. I go to a doctor's appointment and, instead of my doctor, I get a Nurse Practitioner, a PA or another physician I've never met. Last time it was because my PCP was out on leave and the appointment had been set six months prior.

    The thing about it is that I've had some really good doctors who went to some really not-so-great (either no or a bad reputation) med schools and were fine physicians. And I've been to some doctors with Ivy League medical degrees who were the absolute worst. I'll take a graduate of a Caribbean, or any foreign medical school graduate for that matter, school gladly. The reason is that they had an uphill battle to get licensed in the U.S. They had to pass the same USMLE as a U.S. based graduate. But they also had a year between graduation and being eligible for a match. Then they had to actually secure a residency in a highly competitive market going up against every U.S. med school graduate in an industry where the "Caribbean medical schools are total crap" trope is even stronger than here. Then they had to complete a residency just like any other med school graduate.

    And if you end up in the ER then you'll get what you get. You don't get to shop around for the medical school that, in your opinion, makes for a decent doctor.

    Anecdotally, my daughter needed to visit a specialist shortly after she was born. There was only one practice in driveable distance that dealt in that specialty and only two there who handled pediatric cases. Both were U.S. born men. One went to med school in Mexico and the other went to school in Tunisia. Neither appeared to have any ancestry related to either country. And I was incredibly suspicious of Dr. Tunisia. In the end, however, they were both fully competent physicians and well respected in their chosen field. They wouldn't have been my first choice in a variety of other situations. But they did cause me to reconsider my prejudice against many medical schools.
  6. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    I'm a member of an HMO. My current PCP is just the entry-point into the system. She gives me routine check-ups, assigns me routine lab tests and innoculations, prescribes my cholesterol medicine and stuff. A nurse-practitioner could do that.

    She's a very nice lady from Burma, whose MD is from one of the leading Burmese medical schools. (Medical schools there have numbers instead of names!) Residency in the US. (She has additional interest and training in hyperlipidemia, my achilles heel, so there's that.) I actually chose her since I thought that a Buddhist physician might be more compassionate. She seems competent to my layman's eye.

    If I need a specialist (as I did when I blew up my shoulder a while back and needed x-rays, MRIs and stuff) she gave me the necessary referral to the orthopedic department. The specialists there all had more familiar credentials and treated me well.
  7. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    You're probably correct. Especially if she is a career woman or holds a college degree.
  8. Elijah James

    Elijah James New Member

    Today many students prefer to join medical schools in the Caribbean Country as it is difficult to get a medical seat in other countries as the demand for medical is increasing. Another reason why students prefer Caribbean countries is because they get a chance to do their clinical rotations in the US.
  9. Aroon

    Aroon New Member

    A lot applicants to off shore med schools are looking for a fresh start to meet their full potential. The change in location and distance certainly help, but so does the campus culture.

    It is difficult to gain admissions to a U.S. medical school.

    As a result, applicants are turning to Caribbean medical schools to fulfil their dreams of becoming doctors.

    Here is a list of pros to consider:

    • Easier to get accepted
    • Clinical rotations in the U.S.
    • Rolling admissions
    • Quality education
  10. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    And, let's not dismiss the cons
    • completion rate is tiny
    • competing with US students for clinical / residency
    • expensive is an understatement
    Still, if I were 20 years younger and had the option of sitting out of 3 admissions cycles or going Caribbean, I'd go Caribbean in a heartbeat. If I were 10 years younger, it might be one of my only options, and I probably wouldn't overcome the cost.
  11. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    The signs are ominous though. As happened with law, pharmacy, and dental schools, medical schools are expanding and getting more and more expensive at the same time that managed care is driving down payments. Even if I were a young biochem grad I'd have to think very long and very hard before committing to medical school. It's getting harder to make the numbers work.
    cookderosa likes this.

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