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IUHS-Distance Learning for MD degree

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by CVPA, Jan 4, 2001.

  1. CVPA

    CVPA Senior Member
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    Hey Guys:
    The International University of the Health Sciences in St. Kitts, WI has a Distance Learning Program for allied health professionals. I have seen this program mentioned a few times in various threads from various people and wanted to re-visit this topic.

    My personal experience with the school consists of my applying, being accepted and ultimately withdrawing my application for a couple of reasons, none of which had to do with the legitimacy of the school. I am now studying for the MCAT and pursuing a couple of US medical schools.

    Who has some thoughts on this school, their program, and potential problems with licensure and obtainment of residencies? For those who wish to post informed comments, may I suggest that you first check out www.iuhs.edu ?

    Thanks.

    Chris


     
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  3. mdnd

    mdnd Junior Member

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    "My personal experience with the school consists of my applying, being accepted and ultimately withdrawing my application for a couple of reasons, none of which had to do with the legitimacy of the school. I am now studying for the MCAT and pursuing a couple of US medical schools."

    Hey Chris, back in Nov. I posted this message but I guess you never saw it. Good to hear from you again. Please respond:
    The reason I am sending you this e-mail is because I am also seriously considering the distance learning program at IUHS. I am a non-traditional student (35 yrs old with a family), I am an RN (currently work in Neurology with expectations to be transfered to Neuro ICU next semester). I have already completed a semester of Medical School in Mexico which was a HUGE and EXPENSIVE mistake but still very strong about pursuing a MD degree. As yourself I have a family plus a skin disorder which makes it difficult to follow normal school schedules. As you can see the distant learning program sounds like it was made to fit my needs. Same as you I am extremely concerned about the right decision. In addition that I already tried an out of the county school to come back completely convinced that I should take premed courses, prepare for the MCAT and wait one and a half more years to POSSIBLY be accepted. I had already accepted my situation but then I saw your messages at SDN. Could you please share with me some information? Do you in what states we could practice if indeed we both get accepted at this school? Correct me if I am wrong but tuition is about 24000 per year? Assuming we pass the USMLE1 is it guaranteed we would do our clinical rotations at US facilities? I seems to me you are much more ahead of me in the research and would greatly appreciate any info you could share. I was already convinced that if I did not have the money to go to SGU or AUC to just go the normal process and if not just try to get a PA or NP degree. I would hate to spend more time and money.
    Thank you and look forward to hear from you.


    [This message has been edited by mdnd (edited 11-04-2000).]




    [This message has been edited by mdnd (edited 01-04-2001).]
     
  4. CVPA

    CVPA Senior Member
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    MDND:

    Sounds like the DLP would be good for you, however, I would advise that you wait and see what the charter class does. The last I heard, they were going to take Step 1 either this month or next month. Their scores will determine theirs and future DLP students? fates.

    Am not sure that we could practice or get a residency in any state as this is the first program of its kind. From the statutes that I have read, Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York do not specifically state anything that should prohibit licensure. California, I think, would be out and I think Texas may also have a problem with not being on campus for the first two years. You should contact any state that you may be interested in. I doubt, however, that you will get a definitive answer from anyone. I couldn?t get any state to say for sure either way, which?s why it would be prudent to let the charter class be the guinea pigs.

    Yes, I think tuition is about $24K/year.

    There are no guarantees that any institution will allow you to do clerkships with them as a student of IUHS. The school claims that they have sites set-up, however, I would need to confirm that and see one of their students rotate through before I would even consider giving them a dime.

    SGU is very good school. From what I hear, they do offer US loans (Stafford, I believe), so don?t rule them out too quickly. If had my choice of island schools, SGU would be at the top of the list.

    In my opinion, I would not settle for NP or PA if it is a physician you wish to become. Take it from a PA of 5-years, although I love my profession, you have to do what your heart calls you to do or you will only end up regretting it later.

    As far as I am concerned, I am going to apply to two local medical schools, one DO and one MD program. If I can do well on the MCAT, I should be able to get in. For me, I think that will be my best route. If they do not work-out, I may re-consider IUHS in a couple of years.

    One last thing. I did hear that they have set-up an arrangement with Sylvan to administer their exams to the DLP students. This will add quite a bit of credibility to the school rather than having the mentor administer it.

    Good luck to you.

    Chris
     
  5. mdnd

    mdnd Junior Member

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    Chris;

    Thanks for your response. I called the Texas Board and they stated exactly what you mention. If there was a way that they could be sure that the exams are taken by the student (like in Sylvan centers) it would make things easier for them to consider students from this school. I guess the only way to be sure would be to wait as you clearly point out.

    Please let me know if you find out anything else and thanks again.

     
  6. gower

    gower 1K Member
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    In the US, to obtain licensure you must be a graduate of a medical school listed in the World Health Organization (WHO) Directory. Each government submits to WHO a list of the medical schools, located in its own country, the graduates of which the government recognizes as eligible for licensure in the home country. In the US, the authorized body certifying elegibilty is a Joint Commission made up of representatives from the AAMC and AMA. On that list are ONLY the accredited medical schools you will find in the AAMC publication Medical School Admission Requirements. Apparently, states have authority to license graduates of other medical schools, but the license is only valid for practice within the state. For instance Puerto Rico, while not a state, has 3 medical schools recognized by the Joint Commission. However, there is a fourth, San Luis Bautista, not accredited by the Joint Commission but only by PR; its grads can be licensed only to practice in PR, not in the 50 states.

    On-line "medical schools" are certainly not recognized, and I cannot imagine ever going to be recognized by the Joint Commission. Even in the highly unlikely circumstance that some state decides to recognize grads of such places, they will be unable to gain licensure anywhere else and I would be shocked if any teaching hospital takes them into a "residency" program. And even if some 10 square mile pile of rocks somewhere in the Caribbean or elsewhere "recognizes" an on-line med school, I cannot imagine graduates passing the USMLE and getting residencies.

    These on-line schools may help prepare someone for going to college and becoming a premed, but beyond that they seem like a scam to me. There are no shortcuts to becoming a competent licensed MD. Buyer beware.


    Most of the established Caribbean medical schools are listed in the WHO Directory because the governments of the country they are located in have submitted their names to WHO. For example, grads of St. George's, on Grenada, are from a WHO listed medical school, they are eligible for US licensure as FMGs, not as grads of a US medical school.
    To get licensed in the US they have to secure approved residencies, take and pass FOUR parts of the USMLE. They are still FMGs.

     
  7. mdnd

    mdnd Junior Member

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    Gower;

    Thanks for the information. I can clearly see your point. However, let me just point out that the only part of the distance learning program is for the basic sciences and obviously not the clinical part. This school is listed by WHO. As CVPA once mentioned in a message couple of months ago, distance learning is widely used by several american well established universities for programs such as Nurse Practitioner and P.A., these porgrams as well as the IUHS are not completely distance learning. Students do have to spend some time in campus. I am not trying to convince you or anyone else. I just thought it is important to have the right info. Maybe since this education format is new there is controversy but maybe it migth work with some strict regulation. Again, thank you.
     
  8. gower

    gower 1K Member
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    mdnd: thanks for the information that the on-line medical school is listed in WHO. I do not have a copy of a late edition of the Directory. In what country is it located?
     
  9. gower

    gower 1K Member
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    I did not do my homework: by looking at the first post in this thread now, it must be St. Kitts.
     
  10. CVPA

    CVPA Senior Member
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    Gower:

    Just some further info about this school.

    First of all, this is not an online medical school. This is a Caribbean medical school just like AUC, Ross, or SGU. As MDND mentioned, they are legally chartered in St. Kitts, West Indies and are listed in the World Health Organization?s Worldwide Directory of Medical Schools. The school offers a four year program on it?s campus with rotations in the US and elsewhere. In addition to their traditional program, they offer an innovative Distance Learning Program for allied health professionals ONLY. This program uses Internet based technology to deliver the first two year didactic portion. Distance Learning is a method by which many US universities deliver graduate education. Among them, George Washington University, NOVA Southeastern University, University of Pennsylvania, and the list goes on. Granted, their programs are not for medical degrees, IUHS is one of a few schools (all international) who offer this.

    Secondly, you do not have to graduate from a Joint Commission accredited school in order to practice medicine in this country. States very specifically outline the criteria for ?accredited medical colleges? and ?unaccredited medical colleges?. I know this because I have contacted quite a few states and have personally read the statutes. They all unanimously state the following of graduates of ?unaccredited medical colleges? such as IUHS:

    1) The school must be legally chartered in the country in which it is located
    2) The graduate must be ECFMG certified and have taken the USMLE Steps 1-3 (or 1 only if applying for a residency).
    3) The graduate must have completed at least ?four academic years totaling at least 32 months and 4,000 hours of instruction in medical curriculum?

    IUHS satisfies the above criteria and those outlined by state statutes.

    The first potential problem is that some states like Massachusetts specifically state that the first two years must be completed in the country in which the school is physically located. Massachusetts (and any other state that has similar requirements), therefore, will probably not grant licensure.

    The second potential problem is that many residency programs may not like the way the first two years are completed. It?s not about a matter of ?recognizing? the program, that?s up to each individual state. They may, however, simply not grant interviews to those who graduate from such a program.

    My opinion (and this is purely speculation) is that if the graduate scores high on the USMLE, has a solid clinical background in medicine prior to medical school (like an NP or PA who has done critical care for many years), gets some smoking letters from physicians in their clerkships or physicians who know the program director, they may have a decent shot at a slot. The problem is, it?s a gamble because no one has graduated yet and applied for a residency.

    The issues of whether or not this is a good way to obtain a medical education are numerous and complicated. No one can say for sure that it is bad, and no one can say for sure that it is good, although I am sure many people think they know the answer. You just have to open your mind to alternative methods. There is rarely one and only one way to do something correctly.

    In the long run, only time will tell. I am personally unwilling to take the chance at this point in my life and am going the traditional US med school route. It will, however, be interesting to watch this school either flourish.....or not.

    Chris


     
  11. kd5

    kd5 New Member

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    mdnd:
    why are you considering something so risky and complicated just to be a "physician"? you are already a nurse...a nurse practitioner, i would think, would be the most logical choice for you to pursue. This is an excellent career which is growing closer and closer to bearing all of the responsibilities of a physician! what is your main motivation for investing so much time and $$$ for a title which may be futile to you in the near future? A N.P. is a very respectible position...why not "settle" for this title instead?
     
  12. CVPA

    CVPA Senior Member
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    KD5:

    Obviously I cannot speak for mdnd, but perhaps you answered your own question when you used the word "settle".

    Chris
     
  13. mdnd

    mdnd Junior Member

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    KD5

    Thanks for your interest in my particular situation. To answer to your comments would take some time. Maybe I am not portraying myself properly. I am not looking for a "title" or a "position of respect". You see, I am looking for the knowledge and to spend the rest of my life doing something I will enjoy. As a nurse I can tell you that nursing is not the same as medicine, even when activities may seem similar. I would love to learn medicine and would be even greater if I could practice. On the other hand, being practical and realistic, the opportunity cost involved in getting this education is quite high. That is why the decision is difficult. Anyway, appreciate the input. CVPA was right on the dot with his answer.

    regards.



    [This message has been edited by mdnd (edited 01-08-2001).]
     
  14. preacherman

    preacherman Junior Member
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    In Virginia you have to spend two consecutive years at the principle site of the foreign school. The principle site is defined as the physical site where the main campus is. Also, the financial aid director said they would not be eligible for stafford loans until 2 classes graduated.
    Owen
     
  15. CVPA

    CVPA Senior Member
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    IUHS now has a new and improved website, check it out if you are interested. http://www.iuhs.edu/

    [This message has been edited by CVPA (edited 01-15-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by CVPA (edited 01-15-2001).]
     

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