Long Beach State University’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics has entered into a partnership with a university medical program in Grenada that will give aspiring doctors an avenue toward their residency without many of the barriers that can stall or impede a medical career.
St. George’s University in Grenada is a highly regarded medical school that goes beyond the traditional pathway by offering state-of-the-art labs, interactive classes and a cooperative learning environment in the Caribbean. St. George’s President G. Richard Olds said that last year, the school placed 905 graduates into residency with a focus on primary care physicians.
“It’s an international exchange,” President Jane Close Conley said. “But what we’re talking about mostly is a way to streamline our curriculum for students who are headed toward medical school, and work with St. George’s to do that, and to really increase the number of our students who will have access to a great medical education.”
Long Beach State is the first Californian university or college to partner with St. George’s, which draws its students largely from the East Coast. Olds said the island university hopes to add several more California State universities, especially those located in under-served communities.
“We train a lot of doctors and when you train doctors, you want to train them for what our society really needs,” Olds said. “Our society needs more doctors that go into the primary care field, and we need more doctors that serve in relatively under-served areas.”
Students first spend a semester at St. George’s as part of a study abroad so they can experience Grenada. They are then transitioned into medical school early based on their grades at Long Beach State instead of the high MCAT standardized medical school test score.
“There are 50,000 qualified candidates and only 20,000 get into medical schools,” Olds said. “So, there are a large pool of qualified candidates that can’t get into med school.”
The partnership will allow Long Beach State to better design a curriculum that will prepare their students to be physicians.
“We can’t have a med school but our students should have the opportunity to go to medical school, if they so desire and there are quite a few in this area,” said Dr. Jeet Joshee, associate vice president for International Education and dean of the College of Continuing and Professional Education. “It really opens up the pathway before they get done with school.”