Misperceptions: USMLE, Accreditation and Foreign Medical Schools

After reading some recent posts on member’s trials and tribulations of dealing with foreign medical schools, I would like to point out some misleading phrases that foreign medical schools use as well as the nearly fraudulent misrepresentations they claim when trying to attract american students (and their money). I have to define some terms and lead up to the main point so please bear with me.

  1. school says its “CHARTERED”

    Getting a charter simply means that some “recognized” government entity within the foreign country has granted the school basically a license to operate. There NO STANDARDS WHAT SO EVER about this. I know of a case where the school got a charter because someone knew the prime minster’s brother. So it could be a national charter, a state charter (as Mexico does) or perhaps the local city granted the school a charter. It is nearly meaningless

  2. The school says graduates can sit for a USMLE

    This too is, sadly, nearly a joke. All a school has to be is CHARTERED by some government entity in its country, and then register with the WHO (world health organization) that they are chartered. Then students can sit for USMLE. Yeah it is almost that simple. Having a school use the USMLE as a legitimacy point is like selling a car by advertising it has 4 wheels.

  3. School says it has accreditation

    Virtually no foreign school has accreditation from any american organization (either AAMC or AACOM. Exceptions would be the medical schools in israel (which have New York State recognition), some other middle east schools that have joint programs with US schools, and a very few others.

    let me repeat that, virtually no foreign school has american accreditation.

    There are accrediting bodies in other countries but the less “first” world the country, the less likely it is to have any meaningful accreditation. The big exception to this is countries of the former british commonwealth. Many of these schools follow the british education system and are accredited by the british accrediting bodies. However do not assume or believe any school without verifying this as the newer schools in these countries, particularly the african countries, do not have accreditation.

    It is probably better to explore the “legitimacy” of university and explore the medical school on that basis. And that I leave for another post