Friday, December 24, 2010

We are the Bastard Step Children

Once again a group of medical establishment types are upset (sort of a feeding frenzy) at the foreign, particularly Caribbean medical school system.  An article recently appeared about a "feud" between NY State medical schools and foreign medical schools.  Seems that NY State medical schools are waging "an aggressive campaign to persuade the State Board of Regents to make it harder, if not impossible, for foreign schools to use New York hospitals as extensions of their own campuses."

It appears to be about clinical training positions, rotations for students and residencies for post grad MD/DO training, at NY hospitals. They say that there are 2,200 foreign medical students training in NY hospitals, nearly 1/3 of the total population of medical students.

All sorts of accusations have resurfaced, and I've heard them all, but it seems to be mostly about turf and jealousy. While there are many, many examples of quality physicians practicing in the U.S. with such an education background, the focus seems to be on the fact that these private school are for profit. After all, regardless of "school location" the essence of practice in the U.S. is passing the same U.S. boards, an approved residency and the full license scrutiny of state medical boards. Are they are stellar examples of Ivey League institutions? Absolutely not, but it's education none-the-less.

The real issue seems to be about St. George's School of Medicine and their 10-year $100 million contract with the city to send its students to NYC hospitals. Is it possible there may be some jealousy? Since the U.S. needs more primary care docs and the pathway to becoming a doc in the U.S. is essentially the same, could the problem really be about the willingness of St. George's to pay for good education for it's students?

While I know how hard I'm working toward this goal of becoming a physician, I know I'll have to deal with the perception of the Caribe medical school system and my preparation. But in the end I hope that I'll be judged no harsher than my U.S. counterparts. As a St. George's graduate and now emergency medicine resident at Stony Brook NY & foreign medical school grad said, "we have something to prove, as opposed to the sense of entitlement that some U.S. medical students might feel." I feel the same that I have something to prove but then I've felt that most of my career.   I hope that the U.S. medical school "machine" recognizes that there is plenty of illness and room for everyone. NY, you should be flattered that so many want to come there for quality clinical education.