Too many Canadians studying medicine overseas

The number of Canadians studying medicine outside of Canada has more than doubled in the last five years and a number of them may never get the opportunity to continue their training and to practice at home.

In its first survey since 2006, the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) identified approximately 80 schools in almost 30 countries as having Canadian students enrolled in medicine. CaRMS is the not-for-profit organization that matches medical graduates with a post-graduate training position or residency in Canada. Without such training the candidates cannot practice as doctors in the Canadian healthcare system.

According to this latest CaRMS survey, 90 per cent of the students who go abroad would like to return to Canada. But it won’t be easy for them.

It’s a question of basic math. Sandra Banner, the executive director and CEO of CaRMS, says, “This year I have 628 Canadians studying abroad in this match. The number of positions available for entry-level training is going to be around 400 positions. In addition we have 1,800 immigrant medical students who want to come to Canada. There definitely will be Canadian students who will not get back into Canada.”

There are now about 3,500 Canadians studying medicine overseas, which compares to about 10,500 in Canada.

The survey found that every year additional schools are offering international students the opportunity to study medicine. The majority of these programs target North American students. Banner says that foreign medical schools have become more aggressive about recruiting Canadian students.

CaRMS noted that Canadians mostly go to the Caribbean to study; Ireland comes in second as a place to get a medical degree. But there are also a growing number of schools in Poland, Australia and the Middle East.

Recently, St. Andrews University in Scotland launched a program that allows students to complete a medical undergraduate degree and then be automatically admitted into medical school at the University of Edinburgh, one of the most prestigious in the world. The program outline says Canadian and American students will get “dedicated assistance with preparation for” exams and residency matches at home. The program costs well over $250K in tuition alone.

Most international students say their fees are paid for by a combination of family support and bank loans.

Some students go to medical school abroad directly out of high school and that number is on the rise. But most go after finishing an undergraduate degree in Canada and have not applied to Canadian medical schools as many times as a successful applicant in Canada.

The survey suggested these students opt to study overseas because they have decided they would not be accepted into medical school in Canada, or would rather not wait several years through repeated attempts. It is not uncommon in Canada to apply to medical school two or three times before being admitted. The acceptance rate for first-time applicants in Canada is under 30 per cent. In the U.S. the success rate is 44 per cent.

The majority of Canadians studying medicine abroad are male, slightly older, single and with more post-secondary education than their medical student counterparts in Canada. And, more of them have a medical doctor as a parent. They mostly are residents of British Columbia and Ontario which have the lowest acceptance rates for medical school applicants.

The number of residency positions is decided by each province. More than half of residency positions for international students are in Ontario. International medical graduates are a combination of Canadians studying abroad and immigrants wanting to practice in Canada.

HealthForceOntario Marketing and Recruitment Agency helps doctors from outside Canada understand the Ontario medical system. Executive director, Bradley Sinclair, says Ontario has been increasing the number of residency positions for international medical graduates since 2002 and is very proud of having more than 200 positions available.

Sinclair says there are other avenues open to the graduates who do not get a residency placement in Canada. “They can stay where they are and do post-graduate work or they can go to the U.S. where there are more opportunities and then come back to Canada as fully qualified doctors.”

Sandra Banner did point out however that many countries do not offer residency programs for international students. St. Andrews, for example, says very clearly in its brochure that students “are not eligible for inclusion in the clinical postgraduate training program in the UK.” The survey noted the schools that recruit Canadian students in Ireland, Poland, other European countries and Australia have little or no postgraduate opportunities available for international students.

The increase in international students comes at a time when a number of communities in Canada report they are under-serviced. Some of these communities have offered cash incentives to try to attract doctors.

Source: cbc news

New MCI includes 17 tainted members

People for Better Treatment (PBT), a charitable organization working to establish a better healthcare delivery system in India, has written a memorandum to Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad pointing out that at least 17 doctors out of the 68 new members nominated or elected to the new Medical Council of India (MCI) were part of the previous MCI which was dissolved in 2010 on ground of rampant corruption.

According to the letter written by PBT president Dr Kunal Saha, in the wake of the serious allegations of pervasive corruption during the era of Dr. Ketan Desai’s former chief of MCI, a new provision (Section 30-A.2g) was added by the legislators in the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 with an aim to prevent anybody from becoming a member of MCI which may destabilize broader interest of the general public. The newly added section states: The central government may remove from office the president, vice-president or any member of the Council who has been found guilty of proved misbehavior or his continuance in office would be detrimental in public interest.

The letter further stated that the presence of these 17 doctors in the next MCI “would undoubtedly undermine public trust on the healthcare regulatory system”. The letter pointed out that “these doctors were part of the previous MCI which was dissolved by your department in 2010 on the ground of wide-spread corruption after then MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, was arrested red-handed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for taking bribe from a private medical college”. It added that the criminal case against Dr. Desai and others is still continuing in the CBI court in Delhi and elsewhere while Dr. Desai is out on bail.

“These 17 doctors also include Dr. Rani Bhaskaran (nominated from Kerala) who actually proposed the name of Dr. Desai for MCI president in 2009 when her husband, Dr. PC Kesavankutty Nayar, was acting MCI president during Dr. Desai’s re-election in 2009 and a close ally of Dr. Desai, who paved the way for his return and “unopposed” election win to be MCI president on 1st March, 2009,” pointed out the letter.

“It is also pertinent to mention that Dr. Desai was removed from MCI earlier in 2001 at the direction of the Honourable Delhi High Court with scathing criticism that he had turned MCI into a “den of corruption”. “Ironically, Dr. Desai was never found innocent from the specific charges that Hon’ble Delhi High Court labeled against him although he managed to return to MCI in 2009,” it added.

“The sordid saga involving MCI and Dr. Desai over the past many years has greatly damaged public confidence on the medical regulatory system in India. There is little doubt that nomination/election of the 17 doctors, who previously helped Dr. Desai to regain control of the MCI, to become members for the next MCI would further erode public trust in the future of healthcare delivery system,” stated the letter.

The letter urged the health minister to take appropriate steps for immediate removal of the 17 doctor-members from MCI in accordance to Section 30-A.2g of Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 for greater public interest and for the ends of justice.
source: Times of India

UAB Medicine introduces Web-based learning and continuing medical education for physicians

UAB Medicine, in collaboration with BroadcastMed, Inc. has launched MD Learning Channel, an online resource that enables medical professionals worldwide to tap into the knowledge and expertise of University of Alabama at Birmingham physicians.

The website at offers free Web-based learning and continuing medical education for physicians and other medical professionals. It includes video presentations from UAB physicians discussing new research findings, new procedures and changes and developments in diagnosis or treatment of disease. The site primarily focuses on cancer, neurosciences, pulmonary medicine, women and infants services and cardiovascular medicine and will expand to include additional medical specialties in the future.

“UAB physicians and scientists are at the forefront of medicine, scientific research and discovery and advancement of treatments and patient-focused care,” said Physician Marketing Manager Whitney McDonald. “This site provides an easy, convenient way for UAB to help disseminate its incredible wealth of expertise to medical professionals around the world.”

McDonald says the site’s on-demand service enables physicians and medical professionals to learn as their schedule permits.

“By making the information readily available, we hope to further the mission, vision and successes of the UAB Medicine team, while sharing techniques, procedures and evidence-based care in use here to help others care for their patients,” said McDonald. “We hope that the MD Learning Channel will serve as a platform to foster many growth and development opportunities for health-care providers.”

Source: News Medical

Ethiopia Steps Up Education Budget to Over 25 Billion Birr

Ethiopia has stepped up its budget for education to over 25 billion Birr with a view to satisfy the nation’s growing demand for trained workforce, Ministry of Education has said. A consultative forum aimed at lobbying for the active involvement and support of partners and the public was held in Adama town on Tuesday.

Speaking on the occasion, Education Minister, Shiferaw Shigute the government has stepped up its budget for education to 25.4 billion Birr with a view to satisfy the nation’s growing demand for trained workforce. The Minister highlighted the key role of partners and the public to address drawbacks in the sector as well as ensure both access and quality.

The forum reached agreement to work harder to augment student intake capacity, cut the rate of school dropouts and repetitions, ensure a 1:1 student-book ratio, furnish school libraries and laboratories, and build information technology capacity. At the end of the consultation, participants expressed readiness to play their part.

Source: article.wn

BSc (community health) programme gets clearance from the Union Cabinet

The union cabinet on Wednesday cleared the health ministry’s proposal to institute a three-year BSc (community health) program that aims to help raise a cadre of public health professionals for rural areas, reports.


The course that had the nomenclature of Bachelor of Rural Medicine and Surgery (BRMS) was met with objections from the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the medical community.

Subsequently, the course nomenclature was changed to BSc (community health) and the process of framing the syllabus for the course was taken out of the MCI’s ambit and handed over to the National Board of Examinations (NBE).

The bachelor in community health program will act as a bridge between auxiliary nurse midwife and a doctor and overrides the objections raised by a parliamentary panel and the MCI.

The parliamentary panel in March had said instead of creating a new pool of health professionals whose mandate and education are grey areas, there should be a compulsory one-year rural posting for fresh medical graduates to meet shortage of doctors in rural areas.

Source: India Medical Times

Medical school program trains doctors for the future of medicine

Health care in America has changed drastically over the last decade – but the way doctors are trained has been the same for over 100 years. Now, some of the nation’s top medical schools are revamping their programs.

“Probably the single biggest reason was trying to prepare students for what health care was going to be like in a decade,” Dr. Charles Lockwood, dean of The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Medicine told “Because if you think the last 10 years have been quite a change, really when we begin to be able to sequence people’s entire DNA, and identify every conceivable illness that they’re going to have, and begin to design prevention along those lines ― it’s going to require a very different mindset for docs.”

Typically, medical students spend their first two years of medical school hitting the books, but at OSU’s College of Medicine, they’re trained as medical assistants in the first six weeks, and within eight weeks, they are seeing patients as health coaches.

“Working with patients in a service-type fashion early on in the curriculum is extremely valuable to the students ― it keeps them grounded in why they came to medical school,” Dr. Daniel Clinchot, vice dean for education at OSU’s College of Medicine said of the school’s new Lead. Serve. Inspire program. “Having your patient population that you work with over the course of 18 months is very unique, and I think really is inspiring for many of our students.”

Historically, American medicine has always centered around doctors, but a growing shift in health care delivery has put more emphasis on ensuring quality outcomes for patients.

“You have to do a lot more teaching of patients, you have to explain their illness, you have to explain all the options available for their therapy, you have to spend a lot of time talking about prevention,” said Lockwood. “Communication skills are something that are going to be critically important for the future doc, and that’s not something we’ve emphasized before in medical education.”

Advances in technology and a focus on prevention are just two of the health care changes that helped shape the new Lead. Serve. Inspire curriculum. All incoming medical students are given iPads and classes are available as traditional lectures, podcasts and e-learning modules.

In a state-of-the-art clinical skills center on campus, students can practice virtual laparoscopy and robotic procedures. And there are four critical care simulation bays with life-like mannequins that can mimic human illnesses and medical emergencies. From a control room outside the simulation area, instructors create scenarios that test the students’ ability to treat patients under pressure in the emergency room, operating room, trauma center and labor and delivery wing.

“I think the best thing about the simulations is that it helps you practice in a lower-stress environments than when you’re actually working with patients,” Shannon Emerick, a medical student at OSU’s College of Medicine, said. “You can kind of get the jitters out, and by pretending these are real patients, you can make sure you have everything straight by the time you’re working with actual people.”

Learning the business of health care is also at the core of the Lead. Serve. Inspire program. Health care economics classes are built into the curriculum, and students also have the option to minor in business or take time off to get their MBA to help them prepare to run a successful practice in the future.

“It’s crucial that they understand the cost of health care,” said Lockwood. “Every test that they order, they need to understand exactly what that costs, every imaging procedure, every test that they do has a cost, and they need to understand what it is, and is it absolutely necessary or is there another way to get that information?”

Source: Fox News