By Sweha Hazari
A medical career is one of the most popular career alternatives in developed countries like the USA and Canada. MD programs are further in demand currently due to the pivotal role of doctors and healthcare workers in the recent pandemic and high paying jobs in the medical field. As per data released by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the number of medical school applications increased by 18% in 2020.
However, securing admission in a medical school in the USA or Canada is easier said than done.. small seat-to-student ratio and expensive fees are pushing students to look for options elsewhere.
Amid this scenario, the Caribbean Islands have emerged as a promising medical study destination. The region is home to more than 50 medical colleges, some of which are internationally recognized.
Here’s how your study at a Caribbean medical school can prepare you for a fulfilling career in medicine.
Benefits of an MD program from a Caribbean medical university
The primary advantages of pursuing an MD program from a medical school in the Caribbean are:
1. Gateway to a successful medical practice in the USA
A successful medical practice in the USA is often the dream for many. However, you need to pass the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) with a good score if you want high-paying medical careers in the country.
The best Caribbean medical schools are known for their excellent USMLE pass rates. St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine (SMUSOM) had an average USMLE Step 1 pass rate of 95% between 2015 and 2019, demonstrating a consistent quality of education.
What’s more, students at SMUSOM can gain hospital experience and clinical training at the Cayman Island Hospital and the Doctor’s Hospital. The Cayman Island Hospital allows students to explore multiple medical specialties, including orthopedics, rheumatology and gastroenterology.
2. A well-accredited and recognized degree
Accreditations and global recognition are hugely important for a Caribbean MD program, especially from national and international medical boards. These accreditations prove that the Caribbean school of medicine can maintain a high standard of clinical training and education to turn their students into excellent doctors.
A number of Caribbean medical schools, such as SMUSOM, are highly accredited. The MD program at the university has been certified by the following medical bodies.
- Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine, which is the accreditation body for the Cayman Islands.
- New York and Florida medical boards
3. Exposure to global diversity
Excellent clinical knowledge and skills aren’t enough for being a good doctor. You also need a global perspective, good communication and interpersonal skills and a sense of empathy.
The fully-accredited medical colleges in the Caribbean can draw students from a diverse international community. Studying with people from different countries and backgrounds can expand your mindset and sensitize you to other cultures.
At SMUSOM, the student body represents more than 40 countries, making it a perfect multicultural study destination. If you are more of an extrovert, the university has a large number of student support groups that can help you meet your fellow peers more easily.
Here are some student support groups you can explore during your time at SMUSOM:
- American Medical Student Association
- Canada Key
- Indian Student Association
- Muslim Student Association
- Research Organization
- St. Matthew’s University Circle K Club
- Student Government Association
4. Personal development beyond the medical syllabus
Apart from academic and clinical development, you also need to work on your empathy skills to become a doctor. Medical school doesn’t have to mean all study and no play. Exploring the surroundings, making friends outside the campus and experiencing the real world is equally essential for your medical school journey.
There can be no better place to do your MD than the beautiful and pristine Caribbean Islands. The place can let you explore the scenic surrounding and an interesting culture.
SMUSOM is located on the beautiful Grand Cayman Island. You can’t deny the superb weather, gorgeous beaches and friendly hospitality of the locals, which can make your transition to medical college easy and exciting.
There are several other benefits to joining SMUSOM as well. Recent university alumni have secured residency placements with some of the top medical programs in the US, such as the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins and Duke University.
The university sends its students to the top teaching hospitals across the US, Canada and the UK for their clinical rotations. Class sizes are kept small, which allows for more individual interaction with the faculty. The tuition fees are also 30-40% more affordable than the similar US or Canadian medical colleges.
You can find out more details about the SMUSOM MD program HERE.