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When students apply to medical schools, they should make sure that those medical schools are accredited—meaning the schools meet the functional and structural standards for medical education in their particular region. In the United States and Canada, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredits schools that grant Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees. You may be wondering: Are Caribbean medical schools LCME accredited? Medical students in other countries, or regions such as the Caribbean, who want to eventually practice in the United States or Canada must make sure their accredited Caribbean medical school meets LCME standards.

Accreditation of RUSM and Other Caribbean Medical Schools

It’s important to know which Caribbean medical schools are accredited. A regional or international authority must deem a medical school as accredited, Caribbean medical schools usually are, but it is important to check. The Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), located on the island of Barbados, is accredited by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP)*. CAAM-HP is recognized by the U.S. National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA) as meeting LCME standards. CAAM-HP is also recognized by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME), the international authority on medical school standards. CAAM-HP accredits more than a dozen medical schools among the member states of the Caribbean Community and in the Dominican Republic. It has accredited RUSM since 2009.

Because of NCFMEA and WFME recognition, RUSM students enjoy many of the same privileges as students enrolled in medical schools in the United States and Canada. RUSM students may qualify for federal student loans through the U.S. Department of Education. They may register with the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) to begin the United States Medical License Examinations (USMLE) process. RUSM students may also move on to medical residencies accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the residency authority in the United States and Canada.

CAAM-HP is not the only medical school accreditation authority in the Caribbean Islands. The Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine (ACCM), which is also recognized by the NCFMEA and the WFME, accredits eight other Caribbean medical schools. You may be thinking: How do I know if my medical school is accredited? Which Caribbean medical schools are accredited? (To see if a particular Caribbean medical school’s accreditation authority meets U.S. and international standards, check the NCFMEA and WFME approval lists.)

What Are the Best Caribbean Medical Schools?

You may be curious to know which accredited Caribbean Med school is best. As in the United States and Canada, not all accredited Caribbean medical schools are created equal.  The “best” school may largely be a matter of opinion, but some schools have better reputations based on the key points of success: the percentage of students who pass the USMLE and the percentage of students who are accepted into medical residencies. 

RUSM provides an exceptional medical education that is evident in the success of its students. In 2019, 96.7 percent of RUSM students passed the initial step of the USMLE on the first attempt . RUSM also has a strong history of placing graduating students in internal medicine or specialty residencies. In 2019 and 2020, 95 percent of RUSM graduates earned residencies throughout the United States and Canada. 

Why Choose an Accredited Caribbean Medical School?

Many students choose Caribbean medical schools because they offer opportunities to study medicine to a larger percentage of applicants. 

The higher acceptance rate—which is common to most Caribbean medical schools—is produced by smaller application pools for larger numbers of seats, as well as more holistic approaches to admissions. Holistic admission considers an applicant as an entire person rather than a set of grades and scores. This approach considers a student’s adaptability, critical judgment, intellectual and social maturity, life experiences, and volunteer work, as well as graduate school performance when applicable. 

A holistic approach does not discount grades and test scores, but it does allow for more leniency in academic performance. Students who missed the cut on U.S. medical schools—where matriculants have a mean undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.73 (out of 4.0) and an average Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score of 511.5—may have a chance at an accredited Caribbean medical school.

The Ross University School of Medicine combines medical science, clinical training, and soft skills support in a state-of-the-art educational environment that keeps learning relevant, contemporary, and competitive. Take the next step toward a medical career: apply for admission to RUSM.

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*Ross University School of Medicine is an accredited medical school, determined by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP, CAAM-HP is the legally constituted body established in 2003 under the aegis of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), empowered to determine and prescribe standards and to accredit programs of medical, dental, veterinary and other health professions education on behalf of the contracting parties in CARICOM.

Accreditation by CAAM-HP is a rigorous, peer review process which examines all aspects of a medical program. The CAAM-HP board, an independent and autonomous body of professionals, only certifies medical schools which are operating at the highest levels of industry standards.

Through this accreditation, the CAAM-HP provides assurance to medical students, graduates, the medical profession, healthcare institutions and the public that programs leading to qualifications in medicine meet appropriate national and international standards for educational quality, and that the graduates have a sufficiently complete and valid educational experience.

In 2020, 91% of RUSM students passed the initial step of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) on the first attempt. And in 2022-2023, results show yet another strong year for RUSM with a 97% first-time residency attainment rate* thus far. Located on the island of Barbados and with a network of more than 15,000 alumni, RUSM is one of the largest providers of doctors for the U.S. healthcare system. RUSM graduates practice in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico.

*First time residency attainment rate is the percent of students attaining a 2023-24 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2022-23 who were active applicants in the 2023 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.