International medical school says problems with clinical placement of students solved
Stabroek News
August 22, 2002

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Seven Guyanese students, including six who graduated from the Basic Science Programme from the American International School of Medicine (AISM) in July last year, are due to be placed at a medical facility in Trinidad, early in September to do their clinical rotation, AISM Dean, Dr Ovid Isaacs said on Tuesday.

Responding to concerns raised by students who told Stabroek News they were frustrated at waiting to be placed in a clinical rotation since they graduated from the Basic Science programme over a year ago, Dr Isaacs told Stabroek News that the problem of rotation only concerned Guyanese students and not the foreign students.

The American and British students returned to their country of origin where they were appropriately placed. They did not require visas to remain in the USA or England.

He said the problems with the Guyanese students arose after the events of September 11 which caused the US State Department to make changes in the issuance of students’ visas to foreign students.

Guyanese students, he said, were affected by this change and could not be accommodated in the US.

He said that the AISM’s responsibility was to complete five semesters which was done locally and once successfully completed, certify the students then turn them over to the Clinical Affairs section of the AISM based in Atlanta, Georgia who would do the rest. However, he said that September 11 last year changed all of that.

A student, who prefers anonymity, said that some of the Guyanese students who had visas, travelled up to Atlanta, Georgia and after waiting for two months realised there were no clinical rotations.

Responding to this, Dr Isaacs said that students were placed at in-clinics in Georgia to get some hands on experience in dealing with out patients but the students were insisting on going into the hospitals. He said there were advantages for the students in the in-clinics before going into the hospital to deal with the aspects of critical care. He said there were already other students doing their first year and second year internship and the Guyanese students would have had to wait their turn. The students returned to Guyana when they were assured that places would be available in Trinidad.

The five students said that on return to Guyana they found another batch, of whom two had been Guyanese, had graduated and were waiting to be placed. Dr Isaacs said he had no problems with placing the Guyanese in that batch because other provisions had been made for them overseas.

Dr Isaacs said he took the students’ complaints as a personal hurt as the institution was a young one and all efforts were made to have the students adequately and appropriately placed.

This is the second time the students will be travelling to Trinidad. In May, five students were given a letter by the Dean stating that rotation was going to be available in Trinidad and orientation was going to be at a specific date. They travelled to Trinidad only to find that they were not allowed on the clinical rotation programme.

When the students returned they were put on hold for clinical rotation for periods ranging from three months to one year. Dr Isaacs assured Stabroek News that all seven Guyanese students will be placed in September.

Dr Isaacs said the students will be placed at the St Claire’s Hospital on the outskirts of Port-of-Spain to get the required clinical rotation that they will need to be certified as medical doctors.

Asked about the possibility of other graduating students being similarly affected, Dr Isaacs said that the glitch had been solved and no more problems of this nature were anticipated. (Miranda La Rose)