03.31.2018 12:01 PM

Caribbean diploma mills: St. George’s University in Grenada

As a former federal Chief of Staff at Health, and as someone who has represented the CMA, OMA, OHA and lots of hospitals – and whose Dad was awarded the Order of Canada for his bioethics work – I have always had more than a passing interest in medical education. It’s important.

Down here in the Caribbean for a few days, I’ve been overhearing some folks talk about “diploma mills.” And one name that has come up is St. George’s in Grenada. So I started Googling. The New York Times:

Their argument is one that has been lobbed at Caribbean schools for decades: that those schools turn out poorly trained students who undercut the quality of training for their New York peers learning alongside them at the same hospitals.

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.

“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.

I plan to write more about this in the coming days. It interests me.

One thing is apparent, so far: if you want a decent medical education, and you want to practice medicine afterwards, don’t go to a place like St. George’s down here in the Caribbean. It’s a diploma mill.

7 Comments

  1. rww says:

    ‘“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.”

    In many ways all education has become like that. Rather than providing an education it’s become about job training or teaching to the test, particularly preparing students to pass standardized tests.

  2. Charlie says:

    I’ve actually known some people over the years who’ve gone down to the Caribbean for their med-school. It’s a common route for those who don’t/can’t get accepted into med-schools in Canada (and US), but its also an extremely costly one and risky one to see through.

    Given the competitiveness of the entrance process in Canadian universities, many people don’t make the cut but are still determined to become a doctor and the Caribbean ends up becoming an option for them.

    For the most part, all of the doctors that I know personally had all gotten into med-school here in Canada. My brother actually got into Canadian med-school a few years ago, so I’ve seen that process up close. It’s a vigorous one that requires more than a superficial interest in being a doctor.

    From my experience, I tend to agree with the questions relating to the quality of candidates attracted by Caribbean schools. Of the people that I’ve known who have gone down there for schooling, none of them were particularly intelligent (some complete inept) and I think I’ve only heard of one of them actually succeeding in becoming a doctor (in the US, though).

  3. Randy says:

    I am a faculty member in the school of medicine (yes, one of 4 schools at St. George’s University). I am very keen to hear what else you have to say in your upcoming writings.

    All the best.

  4. Tom O’Neil says:

    Yes, Carribean schools must be diploma mills, after all they are run by “Caribbean” (aka non Western) people for their benefit unlike our institutions that provide free educations to thousands of Chinese students.

  5. Terence Quinn says:

    I wonder if that’s where Conservative politicians go to study.

  6. Robert White says:

    If you want to practice medicine in CANADA just become a dope dealer that distributes pharmaceuticals. And instead of paying medical association dues just keep a few BIG law litigators on retainer so that you never spend a night behind bars in a detention center.

    Free Market Capitalism still works the black market where the Taxman can’t afford to monitor.

    Happy drug dealing, folks!

    RW

  7. DTM says:

    Hi I was a student at SGU Grenada in 2019 until their DOS office recently kicked me out of my program.

    It started with the Chair of the department giving me wrong information to register, and when I did what I was told, her secretary had a very nasty tone about it, in the presence of others in the office. A few weeks later, I foolishly emailed the secretary to tell her about her manners and the Chair of the department escalated to the DOS office, without sitting with me to discuss it first.

    The DOS office scheduled me for meetings without consulting my schedule and expected me to show up, even when I was home sick and had to work. Mind you, I didn’t get any scholarships and I had no financial help or means to get a loan so I needed to work for food, etc. I informed them of all the above but that was completely ignored because the “officials” in that DOS office seemed to figure they were too “official” to listen to anything I had to say. My position as TA at the school was also stripped from me because I was accused of “chronic” lack of attendance to their meetings. I was accused of many things, including reading my emails when home sick with an expired SGU password for accessing my account. I tried to be very diplomatic in my writing but I was also told, by DOS official and my department Chair, that my use of the word “convenient”, “unethical”, “uncouth” etc. was disrespectful.

    The DOS asked me to provide an apology, and I provided four (4) apologies, for the sake of peace, but they were all ignored. Mind you, one apology was written by an SGU supervisor and an SGU faculty with a Doctorate’s degree. They gave me hell about poor communication, so I suppose the apologies from the supervisor and faculty member was also poor. SGU has their own court system and their lawyer slammed me with all sorts of violations, including falsifying university documents. When the panel asked the Chair of my department if she had signed my registration form, she said a very gruff “no”, even though her signature is on the form in the registrar’s office. With God, I was found not guilty for forgery!

    During detention sittings with my probation officer, I tried to ask her some questions about our previous discussions, but she got red in the face and dismissed me from her office. One of the questions asked: “Why would you say that Dr. …. does not care when she is supposed to care”? I also asked a separate official if was “supposed to leave my sick bed to attend those meetings” and she didn’t respond. My probation letter said to email DOS if I had any questions but when I did that their lawyer created a string of violations about that. I also emailed the new Dean of SAS to ask him a question and to help him find the evidence he was looking for about my program but that also turned out to be a violation. The provost had no response to my emails and the new ombudsman said she has no power to do anything other than give me advice. Their lawyer also referred to me and my sentiments as “rat hole” and the panel members had nothing to say to that. I am still wondering which gov’t is SGU bigger than!!

    I have evidence to show that the decision was made before the 2nd hearing was called and that is blatant discrimination – my account has a learning mgmt system lock hold that still says “DO NOTTTTT REMOVE” so I can’t see my grades or request my transcript. Based on confessions from one of my cohort and from other students, SGU only have respect and humility for students with rich backgrounds – students with parents who are politicians, doctors, diplomats, etc. An esteemed member of society told me that “SGU is bigger than the government” because “they are not nice” and “you are not wrong but they just feel you should not tell them anything because you are too much in their face”. Mind you, the provost had no response and neither did any other the higher heads, including the Chancellor, etc.

    I asked SGU for an apology but instead I got a whole lot of negative attitude, probation, a detention officer, 2 court cases and dismissal from my program (which I fought to enter into for many, many years) and from the university. One is ever open to correction and understands the need for discipline and rules but if SGU staff can’t exemplify ethics and professionalism to students then how can they slam students from same?? I can’t believe that this type of rubbish exists at University level in 2019.

    I rest my case!!

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