CEO Milo Pinckney of American University Responds to Criticism of Offshore Medical School
The following was posted to the Barbados Medical Corner page by Milo Pinckney, CEO of the company that operates the American University of Integrated Sciences (AUIS) – Barbados Underground
I have read through the comments made by Georgie Porgie, Hal Austin and others about the Medical schools opening on Barbados. While it is true that 31 medical schools have opened throughout Caribbean islands since 1972, and that some are in fact sub par. The whole truth is, that this situation is not universally descriptive of the entirety of US based Caribbean Medical school community. St Georges, Ross, AUC, AUIS, Saba, UMHS, AUA and others are fine institutions with successful graduates practicing throughout the US and Canada. In fact the physician referenced in one of the earlier post, Dr. Saxton is an AUIS graduate who serves as Chief of Pediatrics at a teaching hospital here in the US and visits Barbados regularly to teach and supervise Bariatric Medicine service at the Barbados Defense Force facility.
Having said that, let me make it clear that I respect every individual’s right to an opinion on the subject of Barbados Medical School proliferation, but I encourage any contributor to offer an educated and fact based opinion not one promoting a negative, uninformed personal agenda.
To that end let me introduce some verifiable facts to the discussion. As of 2016 the US is projecting a 250,000 physician shortage by 2025. As of 2013 29% of all physicians practicing in US hospitals are foreign trained physicians or what is generally identified as IMG/FMG.
The greater majority of US based offshore medical schools are delivering an identical US compliant Allopathic Curriculum, tailored to meet the educational parameters of the USMLE board examination; which is required to be sat by all medical graduates from any and all schools across the world prior to entering a US residency program. If one was to look at the history of the seven schools i have earlier mentioned here, they will find that all of them have graduated in excess of thousand physicians who are practicing, teaching, or doing valuable research. The common net thread is that they are all making a needed positive contribution to health delivery resources available to the populations they serve.
Now, allow me to address the specific situation in Barbados. The proliferation of schools slated for Barbados says more about Barbados than it does about Caribbean Medical schools. Barbados is an Island that for the past 20 plus years has made significant investment in education. It has one of the highest literacy rates of any developed nation. It has a large concentration of skilled retired physicians who have practice experience from around the US, Canada, UK, hell the world. If you were to be an educator in the offshore medical sector, where would you go to set up shop?
Now there is always an ignorant population frightened by that which they don’t know or don’t understand. It’s human nature. The schools opening on the island will not adversely impact upon the local physician practices, Hospital services or clinical labor pool. The historical facts have proven to the contrary on every island that has invited schools to come.
~The fraudulent claim that Students in the local hospital cause disruption to local healthcare delivery.
Fact: for US based ECFMG compliant programs the students are required to complete all their clinical rotations in US or Canadian hospitals. Thus no impact to the local facility
~ The claim that all the schools are run by crooks, shysters, used car salesmen and alike.
Fact: If one were to look at the Board of Trustees of AUIS they will see recognized leaders from a broad spectrum of notable US enterprises. The AUIS board has the former council to the NYS board of regents; the highest educational body in the state. Two CEO’s of US regulated insurance companies, the Vice Chair of the worlds largest airline restructuring firm, a Harvard trained physician and 25 year veteran Barbados Honorary Council, an architect who restored the Queens Buckingham palace after fire, an internationally recognized educator/author who designed the Marriott hotel chains training program and a number of other leaders of similar scope and prestige. An additional element that warrants mention is that none of the seated board members has any financial interest in the institution and volunteer their time. A doctrine installed by the owners so as to ensure that the economic drivers never compromise the academic integrity of the institution.
~ The claim that the instructors are a collection of unqualified quacks.
Fact: AUIS faculty is comprised 88% licensed physicians with practice experience holding MD/PHD degrees, 10% licensed physician holding MD or MBBS degrees and 2% PHD degree holders teaching in non clinical elements of the curriculum.
~ The claim that “All these offshore schools come to the islands to take and give nothing in exchange.”
Fact: AUIS has offered the people of Barbados and the government access to its sister company resources to address clinical access deficiencies experienced by the other resident schools, AUIS has already hired local employees and is committed to annual increases in domestic hiring, AUIS has offered the Department of Health and Education revenue producing and performance enhancing tech that will benefit Barbados in the collection and use of health population data and education performance standards.
We could easily continue this thread beyond these paragraphs, but I suspect that any reader with an interest in the truth will see that all apples in the barrel are not the same and that a great deal of relevant data is missing from the dialog.
AUIS welcomes any guest from the Barbados community that wishes to invest the time learn more about what having a US medical school like AUIS on your island really means to the island. Call, come visit our facility, ask the tough questions and demand frank and honest answers. I am a child raised by a mother from the islands who has nothing but respect for my culture and heritage. It is with that background that I came to Barbados to contribute to the community and help my students attain their dreams, give back to a people that look like me and yes, make a fair earning from my efforts, for which i make no apology. Barbados is your home, we are simply invited guest that wish to honor your hospitality with the highest academic standards of performance. You have the right to expect nothing less from us.
But please. Do not speak on what you have not investigated. Do not see all apples as the same, some are green, red and yellow and they all taste a bit different.
But most of all, lead with intellect not ignorance and pridefulness.
The introduction of these schools will be as positive as the Barbados community and government allows them to be. They can be tremendous economic engines shifting tax liability away from the citizens, they can be active contributors to restoring the local economy, drivers of trade and job creators, expanders of tourism and industry. They can be wildly beneficial to the island if they are responsibly managed and embraced as opposed to feared and corrupted by personal interest.
I speak exclusively for AUIS when I make the following offer of statement:
AUIS offers the people of Barbados access to all of it’s proprietary technology and trade methods to contribute to the economic recovery of the island. Only through this kind of partnership will the school and the island benefit equitably and indefinitely.
Let the truth ring out load [loud]!