I placed this thread first in Lublin forum, but its a subject of Polish Medical Schools forum, so I wanted to place it here again. Sorry for the repititive threads.
I wrote here what I saw. This writing needs your personal processing, as others do as well.
1) Hope Medical Institute, HMI, is an agency. Like its peers, it provides a sercive which you can get on your own or over your school too, and charges for that service and makes money over this way. The point is that, its not only a cooperation between HMI and school, its a relationship between HMI and student, so student himself/herself pays for what they buy. HMI undertakes the US clinicals leg of some E-EU schools' programs, which is undertaken by some other E-EU schools directly and without any extra charge. Over that way they open a route for less/non-competitive/misfortunate US citizens to find a by-pass to get in US medical system.
2) The rumours go that, HMI makes favours to the students to make them provide benefits for HMI (like getting new prospectives to HMI). I think the ethics here is limited with the ethical stance of the student himself/herself; they may be honest, but may lie or twist as well. My observations make me think as well that this kind of relations may exist around.
3) Its established in 1995 (no info on HMI website, to look well-rooted, they constantly say "for many years").
4) They are affiliated with 4 med schools in E-EU which admit students with very very low criteria (like 15 MCAT). The schools are: Lublin, Silesia, Pomeranian, Bialystok; there was Debrecen as well, but I think that affiliation is ended.
5) Today in their 17 years of past, they could place 232 residents in US medical system, of whom 68 in Family Medicine, 89 in Internal and 77 in all other specialties. Appr.13-14 residents/year (though there may be a raising trend in time, but a steep trend is not likely). If only in one hospital, Wyckoff Heights, there are 70-80 students from HMI, then where do that 56-66 students evaporate at the end of clerkship?
(About total resident number: I came to a conclusion that the number of residents should be limited with what they placed in HMI website, 232, because Family and Internal Medicine are the specialties which are not that in high demand in US. In that 232 residents list, appr. 2 out of 3 are placed in those two specialties. If they would have more and better residents, I think they would naturally boast with them in both quality and quantity.)
6) Their cost is much higher then any med school in E-EU which affiliates with US hospitals individually without HMI or any other agent, because HMI undertakes the US-affiliation part of the E-EU universities for 82 weeks of US Clinical Experience, which is an offical pre-requisite for residency match in US (not as 82 week, actually 12/24 weeks are said to fit for residency matchs very well).
1st and 2nd years tuition fees = 4*$10.950 = appr. $44.000 (in the affiliated medical schools abroad, like Lublin, Silecia)
3rd and 4th year tution fees = (It doesnt take place in the website of Lublin, but regarding one of the posts of a 4th year student, its $19.000/year) 2*$19.000 = $38.000
3rd and 4th years = 82*$850 = appr. $70.000 ($850/week)
Institution Fee (one-time) = $10.000
Registration fee = $500
Rotation fee (one-time) = $1.000
Total fees = $125.500 or if they get 3rd/4th year tuitions as well its $163.500
The total above is only school+agent fees, it doesnt cover the payments for books, visa processes, flight tickets or living expenses.
(BTW, you can get the same US Clinical Experiences by getting in contact with the hospitals on your own as well, or your school itself may have affiliations with US hospitals and place you in an affiliated hospital in US for no extra charge.)
7) An important number of the students who use HMI route for 82 weeks of US Clinical Experience and go US, probably wont make it to the last point, residency match. If the claims of HMI people is true, then 70-80 of those students (this number is only in Wyckoff Heights in US, I dont know the total) go to US for USCE, but regarding ECFMG data (the organization from which an MD who graduates from a non-US school needs to get certificate by taking USMLE tests) all of the non-Polish graduates of all of the Polish med schools who could pass USMLE (not get residency yet!) are 79 in 2010. If more than 70-80 are coming only from HMI in 2012, then there must be a negligible number of grads from the Polish schools other than the affiliates of HMI, which is not reasonable. Either this 70-80 students' rotation is a lie, or HMI is a bleeding route for students. Which means, to pay a lot of money to lose at the end!
8) Clinical Setting in US : Regarding a Lublin student, HMI group (Lublin, Silesia et al.) basically are at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. As a 350-bed center, its way far to be a university hospital. It serves to a diversified community and by that regard provides/may provide a wealth of cases in specific fields like infectious diseases or genetics, though how far I dont know, but because of the limitations of the infrastructure (they boast in their official website with recently having an MRI unit!) its impossible to have the spectrum of cases you can see in a university hospital. An acceptible university hospital never get down to that capacity, otherwise they cant teach really. Just as an example:
Wyckoff Heights (other affiliates of HMI are similar as well)
350 beds (adult+children) - 75.000 outpatients/year
Jagiellonian (many other universities are similar as well) -
1890 beds (adult+children) - 510.000 outpatients/year
For my comments on the clinical setting presentation of HMI:
(actually I suggest you to read all of the thread topdown, its beneficial.)
9) FOR NON_US CITIZENS : As with Carib. schools as well, the non-US citizens always have a risk of being stopped at visa barrier. If they have to stop at that point (or any point which I cant see), because they have gotten in the expensive track(with the expectation of USCE at 3rd and 4th years of 4-year program or 5th and 6th years of 6-year program) at first place, they will be have payed for 1st, 2nd and 3rd years more than regular fees (or 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in 6-year program), but wont make it to US. Those fees are nonrefundable, they pay, and hit the head to the wall and cant get their money back.
Until now it was all about a company, HMI. It may operate ethically or not, it works well for the students or not, thats the evaluation of a company. It sells this service, we may take it or leave it. But with Lublin, we cant leave HMI, we are bound to pay for it as well!
I didnt check other E-EU affiliates of HMI, but Lublin drives the North American students to that company. If you are North American and want to have your med education in Lublin, then you dont have another route other than HMI (actually not only North Americans, but all of the applicants who plans to have USCE in US as well, because they will have to apply Lublin only over HMI). Besides, even if you choose to have your 3rd and 4th year rotations in Poland, still you pay $144/week to HMI beside $418/week to Lublin. It seems so that Lublin feeds HMI with the money of irrelevant students as well. I think Lublin is running a profitable business rather than a university. This year they raised the 6-year program's fees 1.000Euros, from 9.000 to 10.000Euros as well.
For now and with this much information, I find Lublin pretty much unethical.
As for personal application and arrangement of electives (USCE) in US, there are a load of schools that provide this for way lower fees. Even Cornell, one of the universities HMI affiliates with provides three 4-week electives, which makes up 12 weeks of USCE, and guess what, if you yourself arrange it, it takes $6.000 (every elective is $2.000), while if you do it over HMI/Lublin couple, it goes up to 12*$850=$10.200.. the extra $4.200 goes to HMI/Lublin couple for making this arrangement for you.