New York’s Medical Faculties Say They Really feel Squeeze in Discovering Medical Clerkships

New York medical schools and their offshore competitors vie for a valuable resource: the ability for students to observe and learn from doctors in hospitals.

Third and fourth year medical school students need a clinical internship so they can see doctors diagnose patients, perform surgeries, and give birth to babies.

Officials at New York medical schools say it is becoming increasingly difficult to find locations for these rotations, in part because for-profit offshore medical schools, often in the Caribbean, slots from New York hospitals at prices in excess of $ 400 per week Student bought.

American medical schools do not usually pay for university places this way, but rather offer hospitals to help train students with the prestige and benefits of university membership. New York medical school executives shy away from paying for every clerkship.

“That’s immoral,” said Edward Halperin, Chancellor of New York Medical College in Valhalla, Westchester County. “I don’t think human disease is a commodity that can be sold in the market.”

Amanda Santa Maria, another medical student at St. George’s University Medical School, practices scrubbing at Brooklyn Hospital Center.


Bess Adler for the Wall Street Journal

Offshore school officials think it makes sense to compensate hospitals that help them. G. Richard Olds, President of the Medical School at St. George’s University in Grenada, said, “It costs you money, time and energy.”

St. George’s has paid nearly $ 38 million for internships at NYC Health + Hospitals since 2007, according to a spokeswoman for the city agency. She said the deal did not crowd out students from U.S. medical schools, but was an addition. The spokeswoman for the financially troubled system said the deal helped address a shortage of general practitioners; As part of the partnership, the university awards grants to students who are committed to working in public hospitals.

Concerns about buying college places have increased as schools in New York and abroad expand to address a predicted medical shortage in the US

During the term of office of former Chancellor Merryl Tisch, the Regional Council of Regents set up a committee that decides on the admission of international medical faculties that want to arrange internships longer than 12 weeks. State Department of Education officials said these offshore schools have not been allowed to add places in the past two years while this two regent-led committee reviews their quality under stricter guidelines.

A department official said the process will be completed in about a year, and the agency also wants to examine the capacity of teaching hospitals to accommodate more students. Heads of international schools want the moratorium to be lifted, while critics want them to be excluded from a New York clerkship or at least to be held back from the extension.

“If offshore schools buy more internships, we won’t have enough places for our own New York students,” said Lee Goldman, executive director of Columbia University Medical Center.

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A spokesman for the Greater New York Hospital Association declined to comment because its members are divided on the issue.

Medical faculties on the small Caribbean islands have only limited locations for clinical training there. Many of her students have not attended US schools and hope to work in the US, where many grew up.

According to the Associated Medical Schools of New York, a coalition of the state’s 16 medical schools, nearly half of the 12-week or more internships in New York are filled with students from offshore schools.

Jo Wiederhorn, president of the group, said its members’ ability to train better-qualified students is hampered when for-profit schools buy internships abroad.

Mr. Zielinski examines a patient at the Brooklyn Hospital Center.


Bess Adler for the Wall Street Journal

Demand for these places has increased as New York school enrollment increased 22% in a decade to approximately 10,500 medical students last year. In the meantime, some internship positions have been lost due to hospital closures and mergers.

Officials at offshore schools say their students do an important public service: after being licensed, they are more likely to work in underserved neighborhoods and in understaffed areas like basic services.

They say their graduates tend to be more diverse too: at the American University of Antigua College of Medicine, officials say about 20% are African American.

Neal Simon, president of that institution, said his school’s students had, on average, lower grade averages and medical college entrance exams than those in U.S. schools, but such statistics don’t predict who will be a better doctor and their students are qualified.

American medical schools must meet standards set by a group called the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Offshore school executives say they have similar expectations.

If offshore schools keep buying internships, we won’t have enough places for our own New York students.

– Lee Goldman, CEO of Columbia University Medical Center

Ms. Wiederhorn of the Associated Medical Schools in New York said that was not enough. If these offshore schools were to train American students to work in American hospitals, she said, “they must definitely meet the exact same requirements that American medical schools must meet.”

Dr. Olds of St. George’s University said his school is licensed in every state it sends students to internships, and in March 831 of its students got first-year jobs through the national matching program. He estimated that around 90% of US citizens have done this in the past few years.

American medical school officials “like to introduce that we are secondary medical schools,” said Dr. “They like to suggest that we occupy spaces that they need. I would say none of these things are true. “

Write to Leslie Brody at [email protected]

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