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  1. #1
    dksamp is offline Moderator
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    Life After UNIBE (as well as general FMG issues)

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    This is a repost of an old post that I had made that addresses various issues. Given some of the recent posts, I felt that this was necessary in order to put things in their proper perspective..here it is...
    ===============================
    Greetings,

    Derek Sampson here. This post is LONG overdue, as well as just plain LONG (sorry for the length). Given the tone of recent posts, I felt the need to repost this old article I wrote. One of the advantages of being a senior resident in a small program is that you do get ample amount of downtime. Now that I have some downtime, I can post and respond to other postings.

    First, I'd like to send out a hearty congratulations to all those folks who are graduating at the end of the semester. Y'all have worked hard and have EARNED that degree. Many people have wondered what life is like after UNIBE. I will attemt to answer them all as well as throw in my $0.02.

    First, people want to know how IMG-friendly the US is. Well let me answer it the best way I can:
    That is a VERY broad question. The US is a VERY big and diverse place. There are DEFINITELY IMG-friendly areas, and there are areas that are not. The BIGGEST mistake people make is define who is friendly vs. not friendly by the hospital or the university sponsoring the program. A more correct way to ask the question is asking for IMG-FRIENDLY PROGRAMS. A hospital is a big unit with many programs in it. Each program has their own program director who sets the admission criteria and the friendly/or unfriendly IMG tone. You can have one hospital with an IMG-friendly Fam Prac program and an IMG-unfriendly anesthesia program. So when you are on the hunt for programs, look for IMG friendly PROGRAMS, not hospitals/universities.
    Also, different programs within a same hospital may have different USMLE cutoff points. This reminds me of a University here in the midwest that has 5 different Family practice programs under its umbrella. each one of those had their own director and admission criteria. Within the SAME university, I got an invite for an interview with one branch, and then a rejection letter without interview with another branch. Ain't that a trip?
    A LOT of the stuff (a.k.a. rumors) you hear while at UNIBE from your fellow students is nothing but attempted mental sabotage. Certain individuals who feel bad/insecure about themselves, try to project their feelings and make others miserable. Here is a sampling of the WILD rumors I heard while at UNIBE...(tell me if you heard these ones too)..This is my RUMOR vs. REALITY comparison.

    Rumor: Tuition is going up

    Reality: Only 1 tuition increase while I was there. (from 2250 to 2900). Most US schools raise their EVERY year. (UNIBE's tuition is probably a little higher now)

    Rumor: You can't get a good USMLE score coming from here. (that was before ppl started busting high 80's and 90's)

    Reality: I along with others scored in the mid-80's (in my case as well as my roomate, we didn't use any kaplan course (couldn't afford it...Did it on our own)

    Rumor: You'll get no respect in the US coming from the DR

    Reality: The amount of respect you get in the US is directly proportional to :
    a) your attitude
    b) how well you get along with people
    c) your abilities and willingness to learn...PERIOD. As an FMG, I am well respected in my place of work by attendings, staff, associates, and patients. I have ZERO problem mentioning that I went to school in the Dominican Republic. And being the only fluent Spanish speaker in the clinic helps too :-)

    Rumor: I won't know as much as the US students...boo hoo hoo :-(

    Reality: What you know is directly proportional to:
    a) were you studying from the beginning?? or just going with the flow and expecting Kaplan to help you play catch-up.
    b) time spent devoted to studying. The time and energy devoted to complaining and seeking out other schools to transfer to could have
    been used to study and build up your knowledge base.

    Rumor: (this one is my favorite): I hear that (fill the blank with your favorite newly-started off-shore med school) is accepting transfers and has clinicals in the states, I'm outa here. I want to do REAL clinicals.

    Reality: I and Dr. Holbrook already addressed this issue in a recent post. There is not one shred of evidence that the END OUTCOME (the only TRUE measuring stick) is any better/superior to those that stay at UNIBE, pass boards, and graduate.

    Rumor: Unibe is only recognized in X (fill in any random number) states

    Reality: I can make this a REALLY long post, but I wont, so I will give the abbreviated version...With the obvious exception of California and New Mexico (I have posted the reasons why in a previous post), UNIBE has NO licensing problems in any state. Even those states with stringent requirements (pennsylvania...4000 hours of medical school and 72 weeks of clinicals, UNIBE meets those requirements (4250 hrs of medical school and 74 weels of clinicals - I graduated in the OLD curriculum), and there are UNIBE grads in Pennsylvania now. As for California, it is only a matter of filing out the documentation, paying the money for the inspection, and getting the inspection done. I'm sure UNIBE can easily pass inspection, it is just a matter of filing the MOUNTAINS of paperwork and paying the fee. Before that, if some brave intrepid soul wants to go to California, that person may be in a legal battle for a couple of years before he/she MIGHT get in. Because of the large amounts of money it would cost to take them to court, all the UNIBE grads from California just applies to other states as it is less headache and lesser drain on the wallet.

    IF a state decided to give an UNIBE grad any problems, barring something negative in the persons file (ex. too many USMLE failures - many states place a limit on how many times you can fail, or a felony conviction), a simple court challenge can EASILY defeat a discriminatory state medical board (that's my opinion...no court cases have been filed so far).

    Now here is the flip side......

    Are there UNIBE grads that after many years and multiple board attempts STILL haven't passed and are not in residency??? YES
    It is a sad situation, but ever since the first graduating class of the English program, there has always been a few ppl whom after many attempts at the USMLE, have not passed. But let's put things in perspective. I have discussed this topic previously in OLD posts...

    The percentage of people who succeed via the foreign route is directly related to the presence or absence of FILTERS employed by the school. In schools like St. Georges, unless you have a high GPA and HIGH MCAT scores (which many US medical educators feel is a predictor of USMLE success), you don't get admitted. That is filter #1. Filter #2 happens during the basic sciences. If you fail more than 2 calsses, you win a date with the promotions committee and may be dismissed from medschool. Filter #3 is the USMLE, if you fail it 3 times at a US school, that buys you an AUTOMATIC DISMISSAL. That is a FACT. Most foreign schools DON'T have these filters, so you get a mixed bag of students in a WIDE spectrum from the serious hard core "gunner" types all the way down to the complainer/slacker/skirt chaser/partier who would have easily been filtered out in the previous system I described. For the foreign grad, though, there is just one huge filter which is at the end of the line, that is the USMLE/ECFMG process.

    Another problem that people don't want to own up to is what I called "unconquered demons syndrome". let me illustrate a ficticious case example.........

    John Doe went to Brand X Univ in NY. Historically, John Doe had never been good at standardized tests, and has never taken any steps to resolve that problem. Also when in College, John never really studied much, and wasn't very disciplined. And when it came to the premed core classes, he barely made C's. When John Doe takes the MCAT, he gets his butt kicked. Needless to say, he gets rejected from all US schools he applies to. He says "Screw them, I'll go the foreign route". Off he goes.....
    John gets accepted to medical school on the Island of St. Jock, a relatively new school with a pretty much open admissions policy. While there, when he's not chasing the local women, he is constantly complaining to his fellow classmates...
    "This place sucks, the US is FAR superior to this dump!!"
    "These classes are useless. I'm just gonna get by with old tests. Right when I finish basic science, I'm taking a semester off, go to Kaplan back in NY and rock a 90 on my boards so I can transfer to a REAL school."
    "My plan is to rock the boards and transfer to the US for clinicals. My uncle Dexter is an cardiologist at BFE medical center affiliated with brand Y med school. I got a connection.
    "There is NO WAY I'd want to do my clinicals here."
    John finishes the basic sciences, goes back to NY, and takes Kaplan.when done, he takes the USMLE and scores a 65. He then goes back to St. Jock still talking trash and spreading rumors, blaming "this inferior school" for my USMLE failure. John finally graduaes, and heads back to the states, retakes Kaplan, and 3 more board attempts later, he still cannot pass. Meanwhile, he uses every chance to trash his old alma mater on the FMG discussion forums.

    The MORAL of this story...before ANYONE goes off to a foreign school, one needs to do a serious "check-up-from-the-neck-up". One needs to HONESTLY assess their strengths and weaknesses. If an individual was a poor test taker with poor academic discipline, running offshore didn't conquer that demon. Changing location didn't solve a thing. I don't care how good/bad a professor is, that does not exculpate the individual student from studying and transferring the material "from book to brain". If basic sciences could be taught in 6 weeks, it would. There is a reason why basic sciences take 2 years to study.

    So to all the prospective students who are contemplating going abroad, honestly assess yourself and your strenghts and weaknesses, conquer your demons first BEFORE you head abroad. It will save you a whole lot of time and headache in the future. And with that, I close...PEACE!!!!!


    -Derek
    Moderator - UNIBE, Main Foreign Med Schools

  2. #2
    cdmd is offline Newbie
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    Re: Life After UNIBE (as well as general FMG issues)

    Very well said. I concur!!
    CDMD

  3. #3
    ambition is offline Newbie 510 points
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    thanks for the insight

    thanks for your time to write such a detalid post for us, its really helpfull especially the case of st joke school. In fact plls like that are found at every school, yes its true that we need to be devoted, medical school is no joke. Any way I'm thinking about unibe to apply for jan 07. I dont have mcat, bot do have ** in biology with numbers of bio higher level courses.whats your recommdation be about this school. How about the class rooms facilities and the professors, yes its true much depends on us, but a good professor also make a diffrence. No one is perfect, every school has some up and down (talking about schools with reputation, not the crapy one who just need your money and giving you nothing) so any insight about this school would be helpfull

    thanks

  4. #4
    dmikaila is offline Newbie
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    Unibe

    Hi everyone,

    The bottom line is: you will reap the efforts that you put into studying. Yes, UNIBE this UNIBE that, it has its ups and downs...it ultimately depends on the student. I have classmates that are studying for step 2 as they enter their first trimester of internado. Their USMLE step 1 scores have ranged from mid 80's to 90's. Others have taken off to Spain, France and US (Florida mostly) to do their internal medicine rotation..... UNIBE is ranked amongst the most competitive medical schools within the Dominican Republic. I personally know a few graduates that are in prestigious residency programs back in the states..... Sometimes its hard for the student because of the language barrier that exists between the student and the professor. If you happen to be bilingual, take it in spanish, buy your books in English (as I do) and do the course work in spanish. It might be a hard to get used to at first......it all takes time. This will allow for whatever question or doubts you might encounter to be fully addressed by the professor(s). I can tell you that personally I have had the opportunity to assists in many different procedures during various clinical rotation. Its up to YOU to take advantage of it or not...

    Thanks.



  5. #5
    Dr. Boyd H. Collazo, M.D. is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Hello, My Respects,
    To all med students and to all concerned.
    While visiting the site, which I do often, I just ran across the article by Derek Sampson, as he wrote about life after Medical School. Very interesting and well thought indeed! One thing is certain, we do need more human service oriented people like Derek ,and maybe a little less complaining. He mentioned Dr. Holbrook, whom is a world class physician. I'm pretty sure that we all agree that students make up our Universities. They represent us and speak for us. NO school here in the Caribbean or elsewhere is perfect. We all try our best and try to learn from daily situations and from our students and faculty. Here, at UCNE we are commited to preparing med students not only for their USMLE, but also for their Residency Programs and to face life. If we are lacking in any way, we sure will try to take care of it ASAP. In a previous thread I read, someone mentioned that Deans are not fond of sending transcripts to students that are transferring. I do not recall any recent cases , but I can assure you that it is not our case. All in all, the progress of each student is basically determined by himself. Kaplan helps, the Special USMLE course we offer here helps, but there are NO magical courses. We stand on our reputation. We will do anything we can to help med students while they are here and in their life after Med School.
    Dr. Boyd H. Collazo md, facs
    Dean of International Affairs
    UCNE
    Universidad Catolica Nordestana

  6. #6
    NewHope is offline Junior Member 510 points
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    L.o.r?

    I know it's a main forum vs UNIBE. But I wonder where folks from UNIBE get their L.O.R from? I mean one really need LORs from U.S for consideration. Since I don't think there are any rotations done in U.S. I'm not saying it's good or bad, I'm just asking b/c LORs are very important in residency application process.
    Thanks

  7. #7
    DominicanoMD2B is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Do Not Read This

    This guy is saying a bunch of lies! UCNE does not prepare students for their USMLE, I am a dominican studying here and to find the truth go ahead and contact any student from UCNE; profesors are always late for classes--one to two hours late. All I know from puerto ricans is that mr collazo promises so many things and charges $1500 for every international student for matriculation...that is highway robbery! Stay away from this guy, any student can go straight to admissions at UCNE bypassing this mr collazo--go ahead and contact admissions directly. Good luck in the DR.


    quote=Dr. Boyd H. Collazo, M.D.;772553]Hello, My Respects,
    To all med students and to all concerned.
    While visiting the site, which I do often, I just ran across the article by Derek Sampson, as he wrote about life after Medical School. Very interesting and well thought indeed! One thing is certain, we do need more human service oriented people like Derek ,and maybe a little less complaining. He mentioned Dr. Holbrook, whom is a world class physician. I'm pretty sure that we all agree that students make up our Universities. They represent us and speak for us. NO school here in the Caribbean or elsewhere is perfect. We all try our best and try to learn from daily situations and from our students and faculty. Here, at UCNE we are commited to preparing med students not only for their USMLE, but also for their Residency Programs and to face life. If we are lacking in any way, we sure will try to take care of it ASAP. In a previous thread I read, someone mentioned that Deans are not fond of sending transcripts to students that are transferring. I do not recall any recent cases , but I can assure you that it is not our case. All in all, the progress of each student is basically determined by himself. Kaplan helps, the Special USMLE course we offer here helps, but there are NO magical courses. We stand on our reputation. We will do anything we can to help med students while they are here and in their life after Med School.
    Dr. Boyd H. Collazo md, facs
    Dean of International Affairs
    UCNE
    Universidad Catolica Nordestana[/quote]

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