Executing Research at Caribbean Medical Schools
Published on Jan 10, 2022. Updated on Jan 10, 2022.
Today on the blog, Jonathan Davidow, a former Osmosis Medical Education Fellow, shares his experience and thoughts about research as an international medical graduate student.
When I enrolled at a Caribbean medical school, I knew that residency would be an uphill battle. International Medical Graduates (IMGs) have to compete with higher scores than average, more publications than average, and stronger CVs.
Having worked in health technology consulting prior to matriculation, I had experience with marketing and strategy research, but I had no academic publications to list on my CV. I started to seek out ways to correct this.
We must seek to find
What I found was a lack of a pipeline to research at my university. Not being in a “publish or perish” environment, as many other academic medical centers, students have to be self-starters when it comes to research.
Guidance was present, but I found you had to dig deep to find it. I struggled a bit making connections to faculty, elucidating doable projects within our two years in the Caribbean, and considering what impact I could make on our community here in the Caribbean, but I was moving. What I realized I was most missing was other students who could guide me through the process.
Sometimes we just have to take charge
A colleague and I decided to change this. Last semester, we held the first “Student Organization Showcase” with 6 poster presentations covering original and interesting case reports. Student interest groups in various specialties worked with their physician advisors to identify interesting cases to present at a competitive event.
We developed judging criteria, coached groups on their presentation skills, and with the help of Academic Affairs, held a very successful Saturday morning showcase.
This semester, the Student Government Organization coordinated the second Student Organization Showcase with 24 posters! The three highest ranked poster presentations were awarded at our school’s Celebration of Academic Excellence.
Research is not just for the curriculum vitae
It’s obvious that students are interested in finding pathways to research. Sure, they look great on our CV, but more importantly they provide opportunities to begin the process of becoming evidence-based, inquisitive physicians.
We want to connect with our peers to explore topics that interest us and use what we’ve learned so far to learn more. At the heart of being a physician is also being a life-long learner, contributing to the health of your patients and also to the wellness of society in general.
Research is a great way to begin our careers by applying what we see in our clinical experience to the greater project of human health and wellness.
Jonathan Davidow is a second-year medical student at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in Sint Maarten. After seven years in health technology consulting, Jon decided to make the move towards clinical experience in the hopes of better informing on technologies that can make bigger differences in patients’ lives. Jon used Osmosis throughout his entire basic sciences curriculum and is currently preparing for Step 1 this fall. He hopes to pursue a residency in primary care focused on the social determinants of health. He grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and since moving to the Caribbean has taken quite a liking to spending time doing flashcards on the beach.
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