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Saturday, January 14th 2006

Caribbean Medical Education

The Medical Board of California has documented 20 new for profit Caribbean medical schools, which cater to U.S. college graduates, since 2000.

Is there a reason for concern? I don’t know. One one hand as this article from the AMA’s site (password required) points out, these kids do much worse on the USMLE board steps.

But then there is some questionable logic from a member of the Federation of State Medical Boards,

“Boards are increasingly concerned about IMGs from these schools, their caliber and the rigor of their basic medical education,” Austin said. “We have no good means of assessing that.”

Why am I taking the Step 1 and 2 then?

“This is becoming a huge issue on a national level and in California,” said Joyce Hadnot, chief of licensing at the Medical Board of California. “You may find someone … sharp enough to pass a test [USMLE Steps 1 and 2] but not have the skills to practice medicine independently.”

You have to put a lot of weight on their ability to complete these tests. Especially those that can do it on the first try. In that category there is some concern. 70% of graduates of Foriegn Medical School graduates who are not citizens of the U.S. but come here for residency training pass the USMLE Step 1 on their first try. Only, 53% of U.S. citizens who go to medical school outside the United States and then try to return for residency training pass the USMLE Step 1 on the first try. These are largely Caribbean school graduates.

That probably says more about the quality of the students at these out of country schools geared for Americans, than about the curriculum and quality of education. 99% of the Americans there failed to get into a stateside school despite the effort.