They may be able to pass the United States Medical Licensing Exam with flying colours but doctors, including Antiguan and Barbudans, who earn their degrees from the American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine are barred from practicing at home.
Yesterday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Edson Joseph told The Daily OBSERVER that, “anyone who studies at an accredited institution, anywhere, be it any place else on the globe is eligible for employment within the Ministry of Health.”
But a source close to the National Accreditation Board of Antigua & Barbuda (ABNAB) said AUA is neither registered nor accredited by that body.
“The American University of Antigua has not been accredited by the National Accreditation Board of Antigua & Barbuda,” a source close to ABNAB said yesterday. “They claim they were given a charter by government (in 2003), … but there are questions about the charter, because charters are supposed to be issued a particular way by a particular office.”
From his office in New York last week, AUA’s Chief Administrative Officer Corey Greenberg told OBSERVER AM that since the offshore medical school opened on Antigua in 2004 it has provided scholarships to the tune of EC $6.75 million for local students to realise their dreams of becoming practicing physicians, veterinarians, and nurses.
“I’m very happy to say that nine of them have passed the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE), which permits them to practice or study medicine in US hospitals and continue their education,” Greenberg said.
“Two of (them) have performed at the highest possible level and can compete worldwide – Gaden Osborne and Jasmin Riviere Marcelin. Jasmine made a perfect score in her exam and Gaden was just one point short of perfection, and we’re very proud of them.”
Osborne achieved a score in the 98th percentile and is awaiting placement in a US hospital where he will continue his education to permit him to become a practicing physician. Riviere Marcelin attained the highest possible score, a perfect 99 per cent and is awaiting residency placement from the National Residency Match Program, and will graduate from AUA this June.
The chief administrative officer said AUA’s current enrollment stands nearly 1,000 and though 98 per cent of the students are from North America, “because they want to return to the US to practice medicine”, the university remains very committed to the Antiguan scholarship recipients.
Persons interested in attaining scholarships may visit the AUA website at auamed.org or visit the AUA campus at Coolidge for further information.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)