A recent report indicated that more than 75% of Canadians studying medicine abroad in places like the Caribbean say they were unable to obtain a spot in a Canadian medical school because competition is so fierce. Although there has been an increase in medical school openings in recent years, still only about 25 percent of applicants are accepted at Canadian schools.
Caribbean medical schools are divided into two types: regional and offshore. The regional classification covers students who will practice in the general Caribbean area. Offshore medical schools primarily train students who are from the United States and Canada and who will return home to practice after graduation.
The most recent published list of medical schools in the Caribbean had a count of 60. Of those, 29 were regional and 31 were offshore.
When selecting a medical school in the Caribbean area, keep in mind that they are not all equal in reputation or rate of graduation success.
In 2003, the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP) was established to rate and accredit medical schools in the 15 member nations of the Caribbean Community. Both the United States and Canada accept the CAAM-HP standards as comparable to medical schools in their countries.
The schools are ranked using a three-tier rating system, top being best.
Top Tier Schools
• All Saints University
• American Univ. of Antigua
• American Univ. of the Caribbean
• Saba Univ.
• St. George’s Univ.
• Ross Univ.
AUA, St. George’s, and Ross are the only three Caribbean medical schools that are approved by Medical Boards in New York, Florida, California and Canada. There are thousands of graduates from these top-tier schools practicing in both the U.S. and Canada.
• Medical Univ. of the Americas
• Spartan Health Sciences Univ.
• St. Matthews Univ.
• Xavier Univ.
These medical schools have at least some accreditation or approval in the both the U.S. and Canada. Check each school for details. MUA and St. Matthews in particular have many graduates throughout the U.S. and Canada.
• American Univ. of Barbados
• Aureus Univ.
• Avalon Univ.
• Caribbean Medical Univ.
• St. James Univ.
• Trinity School of Medicine
• University of Health Sciences Antigua
• Windsor University
These schools have no U.S. or Canadian approvals or CAAM-HP accreditation and have low residency placement rates.
Advantages of attending a Caribbean School of Medicine
They have close-knit ties to Canadian and U.S. schools. This can be important for creating a professional network back home.
Physicians usually work with patients from a variety of backgrounds. At Caribbean school, you connect with multi-cultural people from the first day of class. This gives you the advantage of being prepared to interact with any patient when you return home to practice.
You’ll gain more experience in moving between different hospital settings in the Caribbean. The medical schools here have clinical affiliates throughout the U.S. and Canada in both urban and rural locations. These contacts will give you an advantage when applying for residencies.
Photo Credit: www.caribbeanmedstudent.com