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USA Deadline Looms for Local & Regional Medical Schools to Gain Accreditation

As the 2023 deadline for international medical graduates to be certified to practise or enter residency programmes in the United States of America (USA) approaches, Caribbean states are seeking accreditation for their medical schools from the Jamaica-based Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). 


In this regard, CAAM-HP recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of the Dominican Republic to accredit 11 medical schools in that country. 

“This explains the increasing demand for CAAM-HP's services not only from the Dominican Republic but also from Costa Rica,” explained Executive Director Lorna Parkins. She, along with chairperson, Professor Emeritus Marlene Hamilton, was present in Santo Domingo for the May 20 MOU signing with Dra. Alejandrina Germán Mejía, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology in the Dominican Republic. 

CAAM-HP, which was established under the auspices of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), is the first accrediting agency worldwide to have been recognised by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) in collaboration with the Foundation for the Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). It is the only Caribbean agency to have achieved this distinction. 

Parkins pointed out that CAAM-HP is recognised by the governments of the USA and United Kingdom. The agency has successfully represented several Caribbean governments and their medical schools before the US-based National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA). This committee has determined that the accreditation standards and procedures used by CAAM-HP are comparable to those used to assess medical programmes in the United States. 

Established by CARICOM 15 years ago, CAAM-HP is empowered to ensure that health education institutions operating within the grouping comply with international quality assurance standards. Initially, the University of the West Indies, off-shore medical schools and others benefitted from its services. Subsequently, the agency expanded its reach and now also serves the Dutch and Spanish language groups in the Caribbean. 

Through accreditation CAAM-HP provides assurance to students, graduates, the health professions, healthcare institutions and the public that undergraduate programmes leading to qualifications in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing and other health professions meet appropriate national and international standards for education quality and that the graduates have a sufficiently complete and valid educational experience.