Career & Education

CSMSJ on par with other med schools

BY JAVENE SKYERS
Career & Education reporter
skyersj@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 06, 2017

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With the expectation to register its third cohort of medical students this September, the Caribbean School of Medical Sciences Jamaica (CSMSJ) is well on its way to carving out a name for itself on the local and international scene with the offering of a doctor of medicine degree.

The school was founded in 2014 by local doctor Neville Graham and welcomed its first cohort of diploma in pre-med students in April 2015. In August that same year, it welcomed its first cohort of students studying for the four-year doctor of medicine degree.

In spite of its fledgling status however, the institution says it is staying on par with other, more established institutions, especially where accreditation is concerned.

According to CSMSJ registrar Daniella Hyde, the school and its local partner, the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean, are accredited through the Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges and Universities, an independent international educational standards assessment agency based in the United Kingdom.

She also noted that CSMSJ is registered with the Jamaica Tertiary Education Commission, and as of June this year, is a chartered institution with the Government of Jamaica. Chartered institution status, she explained, allows students, even international ones, to access loans for their study — though it probably won't be in time for September.

Still on the subject of accreditation, Hyde told the Jamaica Observer that medical programmes are not under the accreditation purview of the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ), and as such, the institution has started the process of gaining accreditation from the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP), the legally constituted body established to determine and prescribe standards to accredit programmes of medical, dental, veterinary and other health professions in Caricom.

CSMSJ will, however, seek accreditation from UCJ for its Associate Degree in Natural and Applied Science, which it intends to start in September.

Hyde also stated that the medical institution has, through the Ministry of Health, been gazetted and as such is licensed to do anatomy and can offer up to the post-graduate level of anatomy courses.

She also said that the school has undergone various inspections by the Ministry of Health as well as various other bodies while CSMSJ is in session and as such, students are aware of the ongoing process to receive all the necessary accreditation as “they don't hide anything from them”.

But she pointed out that accreditation is not the only reason students should consider studying medicine at CSMSJ as there are other factors that should encourage hopeful medical students to apply.

“One such factor is that Jamaican students should be proud, and even students in the diaspora should be proud of having come to a medical school in Jamaica that is fully owned by Jamaicans; in the Caribbean countries, you have a lot of offshore schools owned by conglomerates in the US or in Europe,” Hyde stated.

She added that while the University of the West Indies has done an excellent job over the years through their own medical programme, their focus is mainly on regional medical education, but this is not so for CSMSJ.

Hyde explained that their focus is appealing not only to Jamaicans, including those from the diaspora, but also international students, to help bring in foreign exchange to the country while also exposing students to a culturally as well as academically rich programme.

She noted that this will enable students to study in the Caribbean but be qualified to work anywhere in the world as they prep students to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination, and also facilitate students who want to work in the Caribbean through preparation for the Caribbean Association of Medical Councils Registration Exam.

The registrar said they will also aid students who want to go on to the United Kingdom and Canada and so are very well-rounded and not about “swatting for exams”.

“We are also affordable and so provide affordable payment plans. So those are some of the reasons to consider us, but we are doing everything step by step and we have gone a long way in two years and as we go forward, we will continue to blossom,” Hyde stated.

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