Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Medical Research of Great Value, says Minister

4• Tuesday February 16, 2016                                                                The Barbados Advocate

RESEARCH plays a critical role in medicine since human condition is always changing and thus, this is an area that as future physicians, you can embark on. This is coming from the Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones who delivered remarks who delivered remarks at the White Coat Ceremony of the American University of Barbados (AUB) recently at the PomMarine Hotel. He said that whether they choose to do this research individually or as a group, it would involve the sharing of skills and knowledge. “You might be doing some research on some particular aspect of human condition, you might be doing it as a singular pursuit or you might be doing it as a collective pursuit where you can work collectively, you do that. Use each other as sounding boards, tap into the talents and the capabilities of each other to do that research because human condition is constantly changing and it means that more and more research must be done as human conditions continue to change.” The Minister of Education also stated that as young people now studying the field of medicine, they would naturally have many goals in mind and he assured that they have the ability make these dreams a reality by becoming the person who finds a cure for that particular ailment or disease. “But we need to know and medical researchers are the ones who would be able to tell us and you are bring young people. You might not be ready yet to tell us because you are still on the learning curve, but there are persons who are already heavily into medical research; there are persons who may want to come up with the first vaccine or whatever to use in various labs across the world, they would be doing that research.” As a result, they must not limit themselves and talents because they have the capacity to attain whatever goals they have set for themselves once they do the necessary preparation and pay attention to those persons in authority who have their best interests at heart and would therefore, guide them accordingly, he stated. “But the bottom line is that you must not shut your mind to the challenges. You must not block your potential by being diverted from your particular pursuits…It is not the end, it is just a continuing of the journey. Everybody can succeed…prepare yourselves, do the best that you can and may whoever guides you, continue to guide you safely.”

THE feeling of a family and the ability to study in the USA are just some of the main reasons why some Barbadian students are opting to study medicine at the American University of Barbados (AUB). Speaking to The Barbados Advocate after the White Coat Ceremony of the AUB at the PomMarine Hotel on Saturday evening, one of these students, Donnelle Phillips, 21, said that after completing her degree in Biology and Education at the University of the West Indies (UWI), she choose to attend the AUB because of the family like atmosphere that you get at the institution. “Everybody lives as a family.” She also liked the fact that after studying four semesters at that institution, students then head to the USA to one of the campuses there to complete the remainder of their programme. Phillips stated that this provides her with the opportunity to be exposed to two different countries and learning environments, “which is an attractive option”. As for which of the campuses she would like to go to, she said that the Directors of the AUB are currently working on getting a connection made with Miami and if this is done by the time she is ready to head overseas, then she would prefer to go there because of the similar climate to Barbados; if not, she would head to Chicago. Briana Edwards, 18 would also like to head off to Miami for similar reasons, otherwise she would go to Chicago since that is where she has family. Having recently completed the Associate Degree in Chemistry, Biology and Environmental Science at the Barbados Community College (BCC), this feature of the college that allows students to go overseas also appealed to her and was a driving factor in why she chose this institution to pursue medical studies. She also praised the lecturers, saying that they teach in a way that makes the material “understandable and if you don’t understand, then they would go through it with you until you understand.” Lafonn Millar, 18, who completed the Associate Degree in Biology and Environmental Science at the BCC, before coming to the AUB, also liked the fact that students can go to the USA to complete the programme and shares the same sentiments as her colleagues on where she plans to go. She also praised the family atmosphere at the institution, stating that it was a “relaxed environment” where students shared information; the small teacher to student ratio and the fact that the campus was on the beach, saying that when students get tired from all of the work, they can head down to the beach and sometimes, they even go as a group. Rasheed Pilgrim, 19, who completed pre-medicine and is now going to start medical studies, said that he choose the AUB because “it provides a different setting” as well as that “the AUB provides many international opportunities.” He would like to head off to Chicago since this is the longest affiliation that the AUB has had. (PJT)

Abinash Dev
American University of Barbados
Contact :- +91- 8853426620

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Barbados The Best Source for Offshore Medical Education in the Caribbean

Why Barbados

Barbados is a coral paradise in the Caribbean. It is a delightful mix of culture, food, natural scenic beauty, a warm climate and the sea that merges with the blue skies in the distant horizon. It is a beautiful country with secure living conditions. There are eleven parishes and four towns, each with their own character, charm and history.

The beauty of the place has rubbed onto every Barbadian heart. There is a smile on every face and a twinkle in every eye.  It is the most pleasant place to pursue your dream of mastering the art and science of modern medicine.

Some Facts about Barbados:

The United Nations Human Development Index (2011) placed Barbados in the highest bracket, namely the "Very High Human Development" category, which is well above the regional average for the Caribbean and Latin America.
Visitors highlight the friendliness of Barbadians as the island's greatest and most pleasing asset. This is reflected in the highest repeat visitor factor in the region of 39%.
The people of Barbados have a history of long ingrained Christian principles and the nation’s free educational system has given rise to a literacy rate of 97%.
Barbados has the third oldest parliament in the world, with uninterrupted parliamentary governance since 1639.
Barbados was the only vacation destination in this hemisphere with a scheduled Concorde service. One retired British Airways Concorde now resides at our international airport.
The name 'Barbados' is derived from the Bearded Fig Trees once found in abundance on the island.
Barbados is completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean (see where is Barbados).
Barbados is 21 miles long and 14 miles wide!
Barbados Fertility Centre is the only full time fertility unit in the Caribbean region. Its success rates are higher than the UK and the USA and treatment costs are a third of the price.
We are the only coral island in the region with all white sand beaches.
Barbados has pure drinking water and was the first Caribbean island to have piped water.
The island has excellent telecommunications systems.
Barbados' cultural diversity helps make the island so distinctively charming.
Utilities are available all across the island.
Barbados is easily accessible from everywhere.
The maximum daily temperature is 75-90°F (23-32°C) year round. The island is consistently cooled by the north-east trade winds.

Offshore medical schools are medical institutions outside the United States that mainly cater to international medical students, most of them U.S. or Canadian citizens. These schools tend to attract students in large numbers who have failed to gain admission to accredited North American medical schools, whether because of low scores on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), low undergraduate GPAs or a combination of both. Distinguishing offshore medical schools from other (public) academic institutions in the Caribbean is the fact that the former offer programs that are geared almost exclusively towards U.S. medical students while the latter mostly train domestic students.

The business of training North American medical students offshore began in the late 1970s with the establishment of campuses on the islands of Dominica, Grenada and St. Martin by American entrepreneurs and medical professionals who saw a demand for medical education that could not be met domestically. Entrepreneurs were able to begin meeting this demand by developing profit-generating institutions that were subject to much less stringent oversight from local authorities than was the case in the United States or Canada.  While in the past only a few Caribbean offshore medical schools existed, more recently they have mushroomed significantly both in number and location. Today, there at least 30 institutions catering almost exclusively to international students, and they are located on more than 15 islands and nations.

The reasons behind this explosive growth over the last decade are fairly straightforward. The primary factor is demand. Simply put, there are not enough places at North American medical schools to meet the demand of aspiring medical students; a demand that comes in part because of severe personnel shortages in the healthcare labor market in the United States. And of course, the basic laws of economic theory suggest that where there is demand for a product or service, supply will emerge to meet it. Also, from a Caribbean perspective, offshore medical schools bring in significant revenue to very small economies that are otherwise almost exclusively reliant on tourism dollars. A secondary, but not insignificant factor, is the lower tuition costs and laxer admission standards of offshore medical school programs.


With such tremendous growth in the number of offshore medical institutions in recent years, there is a considerable degree of concern surrounding the industry among stakeholders and lawmakers in the United States. Given that the primary motivation for the development of offshore medical schools appears to be related to profits (given that they are all for-profit enterprises), critics frequently point to the fact that the non-profit, public-service mission of the medical school as understood in the United States is lost.
Additionally, there are doubts about teaching methods and the availability of teaching materials. Anecdotally, it appears that much of the teaching at these schools is designed specifically to prepare students for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certification process in order to become licensed in the Unites States. This ‘teaching to the test,’ it is argued, leaves students poorly prepared for the rigors of a professional career in medicine.
There is also significant concern that the teaching frequently occurs over the internet and through distance learning programs, which runs contrary to the American medical school model where strict attendance policies are enforced. With regards to clinical rotations and the integration of offshore medical school students into medical school programs and clinical study programs in the United States, it is very hard for students to transfer to U.S. medical schools. Furthermore, a number of offshore schools fail to meet the necessary standards set by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) standards for U.S. residency, and broadly speaking residency directors in the United States do not favor international medical graduates. Many states also require longer periods of residency for international students in order to become licensed.

Another important consideration is that (typically) only a business license is needed to open a medical school in the Caribbean, which is in stark contrast to the rigorous series of standards covering academics, finances, and governance that U.S. medical schools have to comply with to meet the standards of accreditation set by the LCME or the American Osteopathic Association. In most Caribbean nations, licenses are issued with little to no concern over academic standards, and it is these licenses that allow institutions to be listed as a medical school on the International Medical Education Directory (IMED), which qualifies their students to undergo the ECFMG certification process.

Developing Standards
Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions
These concerns notwithstanding, the establishment of the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions(CAAM-HP) has been noted as an important step with regards to improving some of the oversight concerns noted above. Prior to 2003, the Caribbean did not have an entity responsible for the regional assessment and quality assurance of offshore medical school programs. In 2003, CAAM-HP was established, replacing the General Medical Council (GMC) of the United Kingdom, which accredited the medical education programs at the University of the West Indies, at its campuses in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
According to its website, the CAAM-HP is a “legally constituted entity … empowered to determine and prescribe standards and to accredit programs of medical, dental, veterinary and other health professions education on behalf of the contracting parties in CARICOM, … the political and economic affiliation of 15 member states that includes most of the English-speaking islands and some Central and South American nations.”

Certification from the CAAM-HP helps in improving the international acceptance of qualifications awarded by offshore medical schools. For example, the British government has accepted the CAAM-HP as “the official accrediting authority for new and developing schools in the British Overseas Territories located in the Caribbean.” It is also worth mentioning that the CAAM-HP developed its accreditation system based on that of the LCME and the GMC of Great Britain.

Abinash Dev
American University of Barbados
Contact :- +91- 8853426620