Written by: Angela Mujukian
As a Millennial who has just returned from a third world country and is adjusting back to Generation-Y and first world capitalistic and consumeristic society, it is difficult to see through a lens whereby all "physicians-to-be's" are created equal and given the same chance.
If we are all Americans living in the same nation, following the same constitution, undergoing the same regulations setup by the healthcare system, then we need to be treated equally as students whom attends a U.S. medical school versus an American who did their medical schooling abroad.
Although there is a doctor shortage in the U.S. for Family Medicine and Primary Care Physicians, SGU grads should be given the same opportunities for competitive residencies like Orthopedic Surgery, Dermatology, etc., in the United States.
The healthcare system needs to implement and equal opportunity employer system among foreign medical graduates for not only clinical rotation spots but also residency specialties. The system must be revamped as admission boards need to change the sliding scale and see that these students who are traveling abroad, who have faced adversity, and have grown thick skin are far better candidates for the job. Foreign medical grads not only had to learn two years of basic sciences schooling but had to do it in an underdeveloped third-world country. We faced many daily battles as living everyday to survive was a challenging test. Experiencing power outages, technical difficulties, Chikungunya virus outbreak, etc., was just a glimpse of the pot or day in the life of a carribbeanmed student.
Yet, this idea of "Caribbean" med student versus "U.S." med student needs to be eradicated from our vocabulary. We are all medical students, one in the same, no one better than the other or short of amazing set out for one purpose only to make a difference. Therefore, this stigma of "Caribbean" as odd or not good enough, second chance, or plan B needs to be permanently removed from one's vocabulary.
Some of the SGU students that came out of these experiences are going to make phenomenal doctors. Sometimes it is not the smartest species who survive and thrive but the ones who are most adaptable. SGU grads have proven time and again that they can make the most out of the little resources given to them and easily adapt to their environment, adjust to their surroundings and grow culturally competent skills to the vast amount of diverse ethnicities, religions, and races they interact with on a day to day basis. SGU grades are shaped into world class citizens who exude empathy and compassion and are the next future generation of doctors, therefore, they should be given an equal shot in the same playing field as U.S. medical students, after all, we are all American medical students as well.
St. George's University School of Medicine (SGU SOM) wasn't my "second chance at medical school". SGU was my first choice. I never even applied to U.S. Medical Schools. Though I was accepted into Harvard Extension's Premedical Post-Bacc program I rejected due to the debt I would later find myself in with no guarantee of entrance to medical school. I didn't care where I went to medical school as long as I was in a medical school, whether that be 3,000 miles away, in a third world country, and so I chose, "The Harvard of the Caribbean" school. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to change the world, I wanted to save a life and I was willing to do anything to go anywhere, no matter what it took to become a physician.
The U.S. is implementing a new system whereby they are allocating only a few number of residency spots based on their number of currently enrolled attendees of their own medical schools. Yet, there is currently a doctor shortage in America that continues to be growing. There are hundreds of hundreds of "physician-to-be's" being produced at foreign medical schools like St. George's University for example, whom are taking the same FAFSA federal loans, whom have higher g.p.as to pass, whereby the grading scale is 75% passing rate and letter-grade determined, not pass or fail like U.S. Schools. On top of that, we have to pass the same USMLE Board Step 1, 2, 3 scores and beyond just as the U.S. schools. So if we're not only meeting the standards but surpassing them why is there still a doctor shortage and why isn't the healthcare system or government in favor of hiring more of these U.S. college students who flew all the way to live in a third world country to come back to the U.S. and try to save lives and improve healthcare in the U.S. There needs to be new laws enacted and more residency spots in the U.S. because there is a doctor shortage in America, it's growing and there is a solution. No one is looking at foreign medical schools because they are "foreign" but we are born and bred Americans, from U.S. college and prestigious schools who went all the way to the Caribbean, sacrificing weddings, birthdays, graduations, funerals, etc., giving away years of our life, mental health, hair falling out, losing friendships, to save a life and only be rejected in the U.S.? Things need to change and they need to change now. If we're sacrificing our millennial years and are isolated from Generation-Y to make a difference then we should be given the same opportunities as U.S. medical schools whereby creating an equal opportunity for competitive residencies such as orthopedic surgery, dermatology, etc., spots.
As a Millennial Med Student in Generation-Y it's time the U.S. appreciate all types of foreign medical grads and create equal opportunities to have their American students return home and make a difference in their country and finish the task they once set out abroad to accomplish.
It's time the U.S. healthcare system evolved with the ever evolving Generation-Y and encompass the moral and ethical changes that attribute today's medical student by giving all an equal chance.
Angela Mujukian is an Author, Mentor, and Medical Student. She is the co-author of the best-selling book series, “20 Beautiful Women” widely known for #20beautifulwomen challenge (over a million women participated) and was featured in the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and many other sites. As a first-generation Armenian-American and UCLA graduate, her passion for helping people in all aspects has always been quite clear. As a blogger for Huffington Post and Elite Daily, she aims to spread global awareness of women’s rights and empower the #62MillionGirls who are voiceless.