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Considering BGU MSIH- will this hugely affect residency choice?

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by DocDrex1, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. DocDrex1

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    Hey Guys,

    Thought I'd start a new thread outlining the issues that I'd face if I chose to study at BGU MSIH (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Medical School for International Health).

    I really like this school. It has an international health focus, it trains for the USMLE, it's in Israel which allows for a wonderful cultural experience, and 6 months of 4th year can be done at Columbia affiliated hospitals in New York. The reputation of the program seems very strong and the admission averages are ~3.6 gpa and 29 MCAT. These are high admission stats and right on par with many American MD schools.

    I know that I'd be an FMG. The match list tends to favour primary care, but this might be largely because the students that go here really like primary care as well.

    Click on this link, and it'll have another link that goes to the 2008 residency matches. http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/dept/bgcu-md/residencies.html

    I don't know too much about the quality of these programs as I'm still a premed so my knowledge is not as great as many of the residents out there. Can some of the residents tell me their opinions of this school and of the match list they have? Thanks guys, I really appreciate it.

    Drex
     
    #1 DocDrex1, Dec 4, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009
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  3. dragonfly99

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    I've never heard of that school.

    That is a pretty decent residency match list. It looks like a lot are in New York area, and/or on the east coast.
    You can assume that more people are going into primary care because that is what they could get. It may be "interest" as you say, but the fact is as any type of IMG, getting a non primary care residency will be harder.

    One thing I notice is there are lots of OB/Gyn matches. I wonder if the school has particularly good OB/Gyn training? Pretty many general surgery also.

    Those are some decent programs. One thing you might want to look in to is how many people failed out and/or couldn't get a residency. You are only seeing the list of those who matched, I assume.

    You might want to check and see if it is possible to get a license in all 50 US states by coming from that particular medical school. Some grads of particular foreign schools are not allowed to get a license in certain states.
     
  4. medsRus

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    All US states are in reach of graduates of the 4 Israeli medical schools.
     
  5. DocDrex1

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    I talked with the Admissions coordinator. She said that there are a couple of students every year that do MPH's and so do not enter the match. Maybe some of them didn't do well on the USMLE and are trying to spice up their CV's. Maybe some of them really want their MPH as well. But it seems that the number of people in the program and the number of residency matches are quite similar.

    I looked at Sacklers match list and from my limited knowledge it seemed better. However, if this match list is decent, I see nothing wrong with going here. So you're saying that these are not just 'IMG' residencies. Some of them are actually quality programs? That's good to hear. I like the collaboration with Columbia so setting up rotations in the US is quite simple it seems.

    I know it's approved by the state of California which seems to be the most difficult state to approve international medical schools.
    http://www.medbd.ca.gov/applicant/schools_recognized.html#i

    Drex
     
  6. trag08

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    Drex,

    I am from Israel so I can shed light on this subject. Ultimately, you will still be considered a foreign grad, BUT the quality of education in Israel is unbelievable. I know many people that have graduated from Israeli medical schools and have no problem obtaining their residency of choice. Do not confuse their schools with the Caribbean schools. Israel is a modern, developed nation with some of the most brilliant minds in this world. It is at the forefront of research and technological development. I have lived in Florida for 20 yrs now and if I had the scores to go back to Israel for a medical education I would jump all over it. People may look twice at your application, but I highly doubt they will look down upon you once they see you graduated from an Israeli school. Did you visit for the interview and stay for a while?
     
  7. DocDrex1

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    I haven't interviewed yet. The interviews are conducted at Columbia University Medical Centre in New York. I've spoken to some of the admissions people though.

    The matching and admissions standards seem very high for the Israeli schools. I hope program directors are familiar with the schools. The thing I really like is that they are designed to get students into US residencies. The school's curriculum is American style for the most part.

    The main things I want from a school are: good reputation and decent matching in the US.
     
    #6 DocDrex1, Dec 4, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009
  8. BlondeDocteur

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    Ben Gurion is an interesting program that is well-respected. However, they tend to overstate their connection with Columbia (which is really in name only).

    If you are interested in global health then it's wonderful (required rotations out in Kenya, India and elsewhere), and in Israel their patients are largely Bedouins, meaning you're seeing a side of Israel most do not. The majority of their graduates wish to move to the US for residency, which is obviously not the case for UK/Australian schools, so it could be nice to have that focus.

    If you enjoy your interview (and the MSIH people are very nice) and are happy to live in Israel, it would be a fine choice.
     
  9. trag08

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    thats true, u will see a lot of bedouins at Ben Gurion bc there is a large concentration of them in the south of Israel.
     
  10. DocDrex1

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    Thanks for the advice guys. Keep it coming! I like to hear many viewpoints.

    The reputation of BGU seems very good. I don't want to be associated with a school that has a horrible reputation. Too much money and time invested.

    The Columbia connection doesn't seem huge. It does help for the clinical rotations in the US but the admissions has actually mentioned that it won't help to match into Columbia residencies.
     
  11. BlondeDocteur

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    That's right. Some pre-med students occasionally post on sdn that MSIH is a "branch of Columbia" or "Columbia in Israel," and I wanted to make sure you knew that wasn't true.

    As far as 4th yr rotations go-- as with every medical school, home students are given priority in registering. When all students have signed up for their electives, the remainder is open to visiting medical students. Ben Gurion folks are treated like any other visiting medical student in the competition for slots-- the difference is the school is better-known and applications are not derisively tossed into an FMG pile, and quite a few students end up rotating here (particularly in the spring).

    Columbia is a school that places an (undue) extraordinary amount of weight on pedigree and prestige, so it is unlikely that MSIH grads will match into residency there (as the past match lists attest). I find this silly but it is unfortunately the case. It would be good to do electives here as you will both get good US clinical experience and a letter from someone who is potentially well-known, but it would be unrealistic to attend Ben Gurion and expect to match at Presbyterian. The only BG grads I've met as residents thus far have been at our community affiliates, namely Stamford Hospital in CT.
     
  12. DocDrex1

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    Ya, I guess BGU doesn't fit the mold of 'prestige' that Columbia wants. They are likely looking for Ivy League grads. This is where an Ivy League medical education can really pay dividends.

    It's a bit silly that MSIH grads don't match at Columbia more easily. After all, there is a collaboration between MSIH and Columbia. The collaboration is advertised whereever the school is mentioned. It's all over the website. It's all over their pamphlets too. I guess they know that this will likely attract students attention...

    Drex
     
  13. DocDrex1

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    The BGU Columbia connection is nothing like Cornell in Qatar which is an actual branch of Cornell.
     
  14. BlondeDocteur

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    Exactly. Cornell in Qatar *is* part of the university, and a handful of Qatari students match into New York Hospital residencies every year.

    Please note that *Ben Gurion* plasters the Columbia connection all over the place because it is in their interest to do so (like you said, it attracts students), but Columbia doesn't mention it. :)

    And seriously, I have never been in a place-- and I was at Oxford before coming here-- that put more stock into name brands than Columbia. As my little mini-bio states, I went to my State University for undergrad, and when attendings find that out they sort of shy away from me nervously and watch to make sure I don't drool on the patient. :)
     
  15. DocDrex1

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    That's hilarious BlondeDocteur! You went to Oxford and now you're at Columbia, that's pretty darn sweet. I don't really like to be around 'snobby' people. However, I would love to study at Columbia med because of the doors it can open. However, the stats required are so tremendously high. I have good stats, just not Columbia stats!

    That's funny how Columbia never mentions the collaboration. I bet most Columbia medical students have never heard of MSIH.
     
  16. BlondeDocteur

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    Columbia consistently draws its students from a very narrow range of undergrad schools too, to the point of caricature. When you interview they hand out a little 'facebook' that has everyone's picture and the name of their undergraduate school, because they want to impress you by how prestigious the names are. (One very nice thing about both Harvard and Hopkins is how diverse their student bodies are in re: undergrad mix). I was actually told that the Dean of Admissions has a list of 30 or so colleges from which he likes to admit students. When each interviewer submits a rank-ordered list of candidates at the end of the interviewing season (each person interviews ~50-100 people), if your college is not on that list you have to be ranked in the top 5 to get an offer of admission. Nuts nuts nuts.
     
  17. dragonfly99

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    Drdrex
    That match list looks better than the vast majority of the Caribbean schools, if not all. A lot of those programs are less competitive specialties, and not necessarily famous/prestigious hospitals, but they don't look bottom of the barrel either. I think that several of the Israeli med schools are well known on the east coast, particularly the New York City area. There don't seem to be many of their grads in the South, Midwest, etc. but that is probably at least partly because that's not where the students hail from originally (i.e. lots of New Yorkers attending Israeli med schools, not many Iowans).

    However, if you want to match into a competitive specialty (i.e. anything like a surgical subspecialty, radiology, ophthalmology, etc.) it would really be in your interest to go to school in the US if you could. I do think there are some US schools (private ones only I guess?) that will look at applications from Canadians. I know there was at least one Canadian in my medical school class, if not more. It might be worth looking in to, esp. if you are competitive for a school in Israel with a 29 MCAT average. I'm not saying the education in Israel won't be good - I'm just saying it's easier to match into a US residency if you go to a medical school in the which is accredited by the LCME (i.e. is in the US or Canada). I'm really not sure how difficult (or impossible?) it is for a Canadian citizen to get into a US medical school (either DO or allopathic) even with a crazy high MCAT score, GPA and resume, though.
     
  18. DocDrex1

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    Columbia is crazy! Great school though! So, Columbia students must have an easier time getting a residency at Columbia I'd assume?

    As long as the residencies look decent, this school seems really good. Good advice guys! I'd love to hear more!
     
    #17 DocDrex1, Dec 4, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009
  19. trag08

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    go to israel. you'll have an unbelievable experience and a quality education. israel is the best. people are so friendly and always welcome foreigners. the country is very beautiful, cultural, and historic. i think you will like it so much and wont want to return.
     
  20. JLC

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    When I was interviewing at Columbia I never hear about BGU. What exactly is the connection between the two?

    That said its only realistic to expect that Columbia gets a lot of ivy students (students at ivy schools are unsurprisingly much better candidates)

    However, the students nor the faculty weren't snobby at all (exception of one 3rd year...) and were as down to earth as the next person (and I'm coming from a state school)
     
  21. I'd be wary of picking an offshore school by way of their match list, instead of trying to stay here for med school.
     
  22. secretwave101

    secretwave101 Senior Member
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    I'm an '05 grad of MSIH. I have no regrets.

    You can search through the threads to see where I gush about the program, and you can find the occasional detractor too. There's actually quite a good amount of conversation built up over the years. I was yammering about it way back when I was still in Israel.

    My advice to the OP is to support the advice elsewhere on this thread which is to understand that you will be regarded as coming from a top-tier off-shore school. The Columbia connection is pretty wimpy, as mentioned. Therefore you will have difficulty matching to ultra-competitive specialties, although most of us believe it's just a matter of time. There's a student in the program now who is religion-bent on matching to derm, and I can see it happening. She's like, freaky-driven.

    Some of the students do get MPH's because they're having MLE difficulties, but the majority do it because they're true believers. Really, you'd be an idiot to go there if you weren't a true believer in international medicine. Most of the students who do MPH's are walk-ons at Hopkins and Harvard.

    My class was extremely eclectic. Most were from NY, but many were from all over the planet. Virtually everyone was well-traveled. In fact, if there was a unifying theme among us, it was a genuine passion for travel.

    As students, most were stellar; a good number turned down stateside med schools. We flew into Israel at the height of the intifada and not one of us left the program, even after watching 911 on hospital rental T.V.'s.

    I'd go back in a heartbeat, and still maintain close friendships from my 3 years there.

    And, like the others, I remain a true believer.

    P.S. Question: Given that statistically no one makes it into specialties like derm and ophtho anyway, why deprive yourself of the experience of a lifetime just in case? It's like buying lightening insurance. Unless you KNOW this is what you want to do, you don't risk much by going overseas...and what you gain is immeasurably more than just medical knowledge.
     
  23. DocDrex1

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    Hey guys,

    Great advice! I think that a top quality international school may give me some obstacles, but there are great pros of going abroad for medical school as well. In terms specialties like derm, I'm not interested in trying to get a 240 on my USMLE and trying to compete for such a small number of spots. I'm also not interested in the field either. From the recent research I've done, I don't think going international will have a huge effect with respect to working in the fields I'm interested in. I'm very interested in primary care, rural health care, and international health.

    Drex
     
  24. dragonfly99

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    I don't think getting a primary care residency will be hard coming from a school like that. I have no doubt that it's a good education.
    Just be aware that in some states there will be more obstacles to getting your medical license (check out California Medical Board web site to see an example of this, where IMG/FMG's have to turn in separate additional paperwork). However, that isn't insurmountable. It's just something to be aware of and it's not totally minor.

    The 2nd thing you need to think about is that a lot, lot of medical students change their minds about what specialty they want to do by the time they finish medical school. I know you are thinking, "No way, not me!" but that's what a lot of students think and then they DO change their minds. It's not just derm that would be almost impossible to get coming from an international school - it's ortho, plastic surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, urology. However, if the Israeli med school is well known in the area you would like to do residency and practice (i.e. New York/northeast) I'm sure you'll have no problem getting a primary care residency provided you do all right in med school. If the school sends lots of students to the US for residency (vs. maybe some UK or other international schools) that will be helpful also, as they are likely to be familiar with how to help you get a US residency.
     
  25. amalakassogue

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    I was mid-way through filling out my secondary apps to US schools when I was sent an email about the MSIH at Ben-Gurion. I think I was sent the message because I had been in the Peace Corps. Anyway, I read the description of the program and became convinced that this was the perfect program for me. I am definitely interested in working in international health, and have been doing so for several years. However, I was a duped a bit into thinking that the Columbia connection was more significant.

    I was accepted and awarded a scholarship, however I am experiencing pangs of doubt about whether or not it would be worth applying to some more prestigious schools here in the US. The program at Yale is of particular interest. Normally I am averse to prestige seeking, but having graduated from a state school I have experienced the frustration of prejudice that is rampant in professional world and I want to rid myself of it. This would mean taking a year to reapply to schools being as I pretty much let all of my secondaries slide after I found out about this school. I am not sure whether or not this would be worth it.

    I would welcome any advice being as I am scheduled to depart very soon.
     
  26. JPR22

    JPR22 New Member
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    While Im sure Isreal offers a great quality of education, theres still a few issues to consider:

    1.How much will it cost? and how will you pay for it?
    2. Where will you do residency? The number of spots in the US for non-citizen IMGs is shrinking, not to mention the H1b/J1 issues. Im sure you know by now the problems coming back to canada.

    Are canadian schools out of the question?
     
  27. minsoox1983

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    I hope that you would join our class of 2013! wow, you went to the peace corp! that's awesome!! I really wanted to apply the peace corp few years ago but i couldn't as I was not U.S. citizen at that time.

    In my opinion, if your interest is international health, MSIH can offer you so much along with international clerkships and integrated global public health modules. I'm sure there are other wonderful opportunities as well. But, I'm just expressing my hope that we would be companions for international health.

    I was very impressed by successful matching results as well. I'm attaching the pdf file for your reference.

    Whichever decision you make, i'm sure you'll be very successful and your classmates are fortunate to study with you!

    Good luck,:thumbup:

    Minsoo Kim
    MSIH class of 2013
     
  28. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon
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    Going to medical school overseas will hugely affect your residency choices in the united states. Some fields will be nearly closed to you as they will have tons of AMG applicants. Others will be very difficult.

    Not saying this isn't a good institution, but at the end of the day you are FMG.
     

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