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Poll: D.O. or foreign M.D. for oncology?

Be advised that this is a public poll: other users can see the choice(s) you selected.

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  1. #1
    MiamiMaster is offline Newbie
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    D.O. Vs. Saba/other Carribean MD schools

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    Hi all,

    I am considering an osteopathic degree in the US and also going to Saba. I am mostly concerned with getting into an oncology residency, either gyn onc or radiation oncology. I know that I am going to face red tape either way. I am 24 and just finished my MS in biomedical science. I was just offered a promotion in clinical research with a leading group in the city.
    Sometimes I think that maybe I should give it another year to bring up my mcat scores and reapply to US schools...I hate the mcat, took princeton review, it was horrible, I thought that it was a big trick and didn't really represent much of anything important. I don't know whether to run off to the islands for an MD and invest half the money or invest over $130,000 for a DO here in the states. Arg! You would think that I have been slacking all of my life.
    Thanks for any input guys!

    yahoo!

  2. #2
    ttranmd is offline Junior Member
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    oncology

    Hi there,

    Your decision about oncology really depends on which specialty you're planning to go into. Radiation oncology is one of the most competitive fields out there, and tend to draw more from US medical schools.

    Here are the Freida statistics about radiation oncology:

    http://www.ama-assn.org/vapp/freida/...54,430,00.html

    Gyn oncology, I believe, is a fellowship after completing OB/Gyn. Getting an OB/Gyn residency shouldn't be too difficult from either an osteopathic school or from Saba. Or, you might take the traditional route, go through internal medicine, which would be easy to obtain from any Caribbean school, then apply for an oncology fellowship.

    Good luck.

    Tony

  3. #3
    anoncan is offline Junior Member
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    Similarities

    Hi MiamiMaster,

    wow! I was in pretty much the same boat as you a few years back.

    I also entered med school at age 24.

    I went to Saba and am pleased with my decision, since now I am done.

    I think the D.O. vs Caribbean M.D. questions is a tough one to answer. So I will just give my personal opinion.

    There are a few points to consider.

    1) The Stigma.

    If you get the M.D. from a Caribbean Med school and then do a residency in the U.S., no one will know that you went to a foreign med schoo. But you will still have the M.D.

    If yo go to a U.S. med school for the D.O. you will have a D.O. and the truth is that D.O.'s are not respected as much. I know this for a fact.

    If you get a D.O., afterwards, I guess you can enroll at some foreign med school and buy yourself an M.D. if you reallly want those two letters.

    2) The Security.


    If you go to a U.S. D.O. school, you have a lot of security because when you graduate you will get an AOA residency for sure, and you also have to option of applying for an AMA residency.

    With a Caribbean med school, only 50% get a residency on time. The rest lose a year and some never get a residency. So you have some risks involved.

    3) The Cost.

    Well from my research, U.S. D.O. schools are pretty expensive. Like 25 grand per year in tuition?

    Caribbean med schools are all getting pretty expensive as well, so cost will always be an issue. I think Saba's tuition has gone up as well.

    4. Career Opportunities

    If you went to a Carib med school, realistically you will only be able to get primary care residencies (there are always exceptions, but I am saying realistically for most).

    If you went to a U.S. D.O. school there are no restrictions. You can realistically get almost any AOA residency, in any field.


    Well, that's enough for now. For me the stigma of the D.O. was too great so I toughed it out with a Carib med school and now I have the M.D., so I am pleased.


    I do envy you, because you are in Miami. I would love to live down there.

    Good Luck!

  4. #4
    MiamiMaster is offline Newbie
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    D.O. vs. foreign M.D.

    Hi, thanks so much you two, all of this helps a ton!

    I am also worried about the stigmatism business-wise. And the DO is actually twice the price of saba if you can believe it. What is your specialty? How was saba?! Miami is great, I am from Vermont! I went to U Vermont which I found extremely difficult, that's why I'm in this situation, even with an MS.....I'm still undecided...

    If you get a chance, tell me about saba experiences and any tricks of the trade.

    Thanks Again



    Not giving up, nope!

  5. #5
    anoncan is offline Junior Member
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    more

    Are D.O. schools really twice the tuition of Saba? Wow!

    That is very expensive indeed.

    As you can see, going to a D.O. school is the same amount of investment financially as an M.D. school.

    Also the amount of hard work is the same. D.O. schools are no easier!

    So I always figured, if I am going to spend all this money and put in all this hard work, I might as well get the M.D. which is recognized worldwide. The D.O. degree is only recognized in the U.S. (as far as I know).

    My Saba experience would take about 20 pages to write, but to summarize in a few sentences:

    First I am glad I chose Saba instead of any of the other Caribbean med schools. Most of the med schools in the Caribbean are scams. The few good ones (SGU, ROSS, AUC) are waaaaay to expensive and there is no way I could afford it. When I first started with Saba the tuition was only $4450/semester.

    Second, the two years on the island, is tough because there is a lot of self teaching, since the profs are so bad. But I have heard that the prof's have gotten better.

    Third, the clinical years are much better than other schools, because it's a small class size, so there are a lot of clinicals available for all the students, and there are very few time delays for geographically flexible students.

    Finally, overall the school has a proven track record of residency placement and state licensure.

    Saba really is the best Caribbean Med School if you look at the entire picture.

  6. #6
    ttranmd is offline Junior Member
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    agreed

    I'd have to agree totally with anoncan here about the overall picture. Saba certainly has its fair share of shortcomings, but at the same time, it does have a proven track record with residencies and licensure, other than NY and California. And for how much you pay, I'd have to call Saba the best value in the Caribbean. Granted, I didn't shoot for derm, radiology, or orthopedics ... I think everyone will agree that most Caribbean grads go into one of the primary care fields (IM, Peds, FP, Psych). And to accrue hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt just to get a residency in internal medicine ... sorta boggles my mind.

    The island itself is very peaceful and, given the lack of beaches, promotes a good study environment. It's a small class so there wasn't much competition, and very little attrition as well. Yeah, the professors could be much better, but let's face it .. this isn't a problem limited only to Saba. Ultimately, it provides you an opportunity to make up for your mistakes during college ... we all have some story about how we screwed up our lives, and this is our chance to amend it.

    Ultimately, there isn't much of a stigma. I think we put more of a stigma on it ourselves than anyone else. My attendings don't care where I did my training, as long as their patients get better and don't die. The patients usually say, "The Caribbean? That's awesome." Your responsibility is to make them better, not to defend where you went to medical school. It doesn't matter where you went ... you're still a doctor, and if you act like it, people don't care.

    So, hopefully, you'll figure out what you want to do, but in my opinion, I think you're better off going to Saba, getting the MD with a reasonable debt load (probably around 100k), and then taking care of your residency/fellowship.

    Tony

  7. #7
    MiamiMaster is offline Newbie
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    Saba/Nova

    Thanks-

    I am more and more convinced, I want that MD! I have been through 22 years of school with that in mind and I can't see compromising. It sounds like it would not be impossible to work myself into oncology if I stay on top of my game, and that it is my goal. I am dying to visit Saba, I should have an answer from them soon, I hope that I will get in, the time spent there is so short really, maybe the "toughing it out" is part of the experience that makes successful M.D.s

    I think that my MS in biomed science should provide me with a solid background in the basic sciences, (already took them) so self-teaching should be possible, (enjoy school). I am looking forward to the challenge. I will post when I have an answer from the admissions office...
    $100,000 isn't that bad is it? I think that you are both absolutely correct, internationally speaking, the M.D. opens doors wide.



    Lemme at 'em!

  8. #8
    etomidate is offline Junior Member
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    DOvs MD

    The decision you are making is indeed a tough one. Let me give you my perspective as a Saba grad, soon to be PGY3, who is in a large university residency system.

    It is absoulty true that unfortunately there is still a stigma among many physicians,(and not just the old timers), about DO's. That being said, our university programs have DO residents in internal medicine, emergency medicine, anesthesiology, radiology, and OB/Gyn. We also have DO fellows in GI, and Cardiology and attendings in IM,EM, Nephro, Ortho,Anesth, and Neurology. DO's are now represented in many areas of the country in some of the most prestigious allopathic residencies. And as was previously stated, they have the additional advantage of being able to do osteopathic residencies. This is very important if one desires the top of the heapermatology.

    That being said, there is still a stigma, and for some people it's hard to get away from it. There are also areas of the country, where some HMO/PPO's have no DO rules. Not alot anymore, but still some.

    Any residency other than Dermatology is possible for an IMG with board scores in the top 2%. Several FMG's have been able to match into diagnostic radiology even now that it is among the most competative. There are also IMG's in ortho, optho (Saba has one), EM (lots), and even uro, ENT, and Neurosurg (very, very rare though). One never knows what will be competative from year to year. Anesthesiology jumped way up the ladder in the past three years, and this past year university programs in PMR have been getting more competative. EM on the other hand this year had many unfilled spots. Surgery (gen categorical) varies from program to program.

    So to sum it up:

    DO: Pros? Get to go to school in US, no licensing issues, rotations in one place, can get most of the competaive residenies, + can do DO residency.
    Cons? Stigma, some PPO/HMO's not friendly. School is usually VERY expensive.

    Saba: Pros? Cheap, nice friendly atmosphere, very good track record, and most importantly, you get the MD.
    Cons? May have to travel for rotations, still not approved in CA (in the works), NM (will come with CA), KS (2007) and there are some other states that present obstacles for all IMG's.

    Good luck

  9. #9
    etomidate is offline Junior Member
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    DOvs MD

    The decision you are making is indeed a tough one. Let me give you my perspective as a Saba grad, soon to be PGY3, who is in a large university residency system.

    It is absoulty true that unfortunately there is still a stigma among many physicians,(and not just the old timers), about DO's. That being said, our university programs have DO residents in internal medicine, emergency medicine, anesthesiology, radiology, and OB/Gyn. We also have DO fellows in GI, and Cardiology and attendings in IM,EM, Nephro, Ortho,Anesth, and Neurology. DO's are now represented in many areas of the country in some of the most prestigious allopathic residencies. And as was previously stated, they have the additional advantage of being able to do osteopathic residencies. This is very important if one desires the top of the heapermatology.

    That being said, there is still a stigma, and for some people it's hard to get away from it. There are also areas of the country, where some HMO/PPO's have no DO rules. Not alot anymore, but still some.

    Any residency other than Dermatology is possible for an IMG with board scores in the top 2%. Several FMG's have been able to match into diagnostic radiology even now that it is among the most competative. There are also IMG's in ortho, optho (Saba has one), EM (lots), and even uro, ENT, and Neurosurg (very, very rare though). One never knows what will be competative from year to year. Anesthesiology jumped way up the ladder in the past three years, and this past year university programs in PMR have been getting more competative. EM on the other hand this year had many unfilled spots. Surgery (gen categorical) varies from program to program.

    So to sum it up:

    DO: Pros? Get to go to school in US, no licensing issues, rotations in one place, can get most of the competaive residenies, + can do DO residency.
    Cons? Stigma, some PPO/HMO's not friendly. School is usually VERY expensive.

    Saba: Pros? Cheap, nice friendly atmosphere, very good track record, and most importantly, you get the MD.
    Cons? May have to travel for rotations, still not approved in CA (in the works), NM (will come with CA), KS (2007) and there are some other states that present obstacles for all IMG's.

    Good luck

  10. #10
    wolfvgang22 is offline Moderator 514 points
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    :)

    I miss threads like this.
    Saba University School of Medicine, Class of 2009
    Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

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