Recently I read an article in the NY Times entitled “Medical Schools in Region Fight Caribbean Flow” ( The article describes a turf war between the New York medical schools and Caribbean medical schools who provide clinical clerkships for their students in New York. Apparently the argument of the NY schools is that Caribbean schools “turn out poorly trained students who undercut the quality of training for their New York peers learning alongside them at the same hospitals.

I disagree with blanket statements that we are “poorly trained.” Working alongside U.S. students during rotations, I never found gaps in our training. How are we “poorly trained” if we receive our clinical training at the same institutions that our U.S. counterparts train? Is our MD different from their MD, even though we pass the same exams and rotate at the same hospitals? It sounds like these schools are taking a page from Animal Farm: All MDs are equal, but some MDs are more equal than others?

The main issue, however, is the fact that while the state medical schools in New York have free access to many of these community hospitals, Caribbean schools have to pay for their students to rotate there. It is no secret that many public city hospitals have been in financial crisis mode for a few years now, but the U.S. students are not losing spots at these community hospitals because they prefer to rotate at larger academic institutions.

Going to school in the Caribbean has provided us a second chance at a lifelong dream; a first chance at a different career; or academic acceptance even at an older age. Things may have been different if I went to a U.S. medical school, but with the grace of God at the end of this month I will emerge victorious with an MD and excellent recommendations and clinical skills, and so will you. At the end of the day, despite any setbacks I may have had, I’m content with the decision I made to go to AUA. This is the path that led me to my wife, some great friends, and my dream. Your decision to attend AUA or continue here should be based on your individual needs. If your path is directed here to achieve your MD, so be it. If you succeed in the U.S., great! Either way, any obstacles you encounter are only what you see when you take your eyes off from your goal.

by Alberto Marcelin, Class of 2011