Sitting around an outdoor table at the Red Crab, a restaurant on the tropical island of Grenada festooned with palm trees and fiery bougainvillea, a dozen aspiring doctors bashfully conceded that they had been, at best, near misses when it came to getting into medical school in the United States.
There are more than 70 medical schools across the Caribbean, about half of them catering to Americans. A handful — including St. George’s, Saba University, Ross University in Dominica and American University of the Caribbean in St. Maarten, all of which are for-profit — have qualified for federal financial aid programs by demonstrating that their standards are comparable to those in the United States. And they report that high numbers of their test-takers — 95 percent or more — pass the United States Medical Licensing Exam Step 1, a basic science test.
But quality is all over the map in the Caribbean.