How Doctors Are Made

More than 42,000 students apply to medical schools in the United States every year, and only about 18,600 matriculate, leaving some of those who are rejected to look to foreign schools. Graduates of foreign medical schools in the Caribbean and elsewhere constitute more than a quarter of the residents in United States hospitals.

New York medical school deans say…the Caribbean schools…turn out poorly trained students who undercut the quality of training for their New York peers learning alongside them at the same hospitals.

“These are designed to be for-profit education mills to train students to pass the boards, which is all they need to get a license,” said Dr. Michael J. Reichgott, a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx.

And they complain that the biggest Caribbean schools, which are profit-making institutions, are essentially bribing New York hospitals by paying them millions of dollars to take their students. The American medical schools traditionally pay nothing, because hospitals like the prestige of being associated with universities.

Full article on the battle between New York State medical schools and their foreign competitors.

Comments (3)

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  1. Virginia says:

    The solution? Make it easier to get into med school here in the states. And make different levels of degrees so that you don’t have to spend 10 years in college if all you plan to do is remove ingrown toenails.

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    Virginia has a point. Texas Tech has a pilot project to train physicians willing to work in primary care in a 3-year program by forgoing the fourth year (rotation that typically exposes students to the different types of specialties). But it will take more than that. I’ve heard doctors tell me they entered medical school because they wanted to practice primary care; but the subtle (and not so subtle) pressure to specialize began early. Those who didn’t want to seek the more lucrative specialties often experienced bias or received less respect from their peers and professors.

    Another problem is residency slots. We can crank up the number of U.S. medical school graduates all we want but there will be no boost in the number of doctors starting to practice in the U.S. unless the number of residency slots in increased. Currently one-quarter of the doctors that go through residency are foreign-trained. Without more slots (and people willing to fill them), boosting the supply of U.S. medical graduates will only displace foreign-medical graduates.

  3. Marko says:

    The New York State Board is understandably concerned. They are losing their strangle-hold on the medical education system.

    It’s going to be really hard for the board to argue the system is somehow unfair. They created the system, they chose the mechanism for approving students to become doctors.

    Look, if Carribean students can pass the exam, if that means more doctors in New York, then isn’t that great for New York residents?