Trinity School of Medicine News Blog

Your Medical School Doesn't Matter. (Until It's the only thing that matters).

What follows is a look at what matters when it comes to securing a residency and how, while your school "doesn't matter," (we'll explain why in a bit), the learning environment cultivated by that school, and how it has specifically prepared you for a career in medicine, can be the single biggest factor in your success. 

First, here's some background. Year after year, the National Residency Match Program's (NRMP) residency director survey demonstrates that the school a candidate attended is such a low priority in their decision making process, it doesn't even crack the top twenty factors when considering an applicant for an interview invitation. 

On its surface, the NRMP survey implies that whatever medical school you choose to attend is irrelevant, as long as you absorb the material and can perform when evaluated on exams, in front of preceptors, etc., that's all that matters.

This is accurate, to a point, but fully grasping it requires critical self-awareness and an understanding of the bigger picture. Medical students don't thrive in a vacuum. They
 need a curriculum, faculty, support structure, living environment, extra-curricular opportunity, even a student body, that is shaped to help them succeed. A school doesn't just provide information, it should help students develop on a personal level into the sort of physician a residency director wants on their team and, ultimately, caring for their community.

Let's take a look at how that comes together at Trinity.

Topics: Caribbean medical school student success Accredited caribbean medical school residency match Graduates of Trinity School of Medicine Trinity students

Trinity School of Medicine Joins Top Tier Caribbean Medical Schools with Latest Accreditation Determination from CAAM-HP

Earlier this summer, Trinity took part in a scheduled accreditation reassessment by The Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). For some background, CAAM-HP is the internationally recognized governing body of medical school accreditation in the Caribbean, with standards and practices modeled on the United States' Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), which is the accrediting authority of US medical schools. The standards specifically used to evaluate Trinity are also recognized by the US Department of Education's NCFMEA as comparable to the LCME.

The accreditation agency determined that Trinity School of Medicine has been elevated to “Accredited with Conditions, 2017-2019,” the current highest level of determined status of all medical schools accredited by CAAM-HP. 

Topics: Caribbean medical school student success trinity school of medicine Accredited caribbean medical school caam-hp

Trinity School of Medicine Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Katarzyna Jurecki

Trinity School of Medicine has always prided itself on the strength and ambition of its students. So many future physicians come our way looking for something new; whether that's a unique learning environment built on support and a strong relationship with the faculty, a curriculum with an emphasis on clinical skills and service to patients, or just a true opportunity to live up to their potential. In this next edition of our alumni spotlight, meet Dr. Katarzyna "Kat" Jurecki, Trinity graduate and attending physician at a private OB/GYN practice in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Topics: Caribbean medical school student success alternative to Canadian medical school Accredited caribbean medical school residency match Graduates of Trinity School of Medicine alumni spotlight Canadian Students

Trinity School of Medicine's AMSA Chapter Holds Health Fair

The Trinity School of Medicine chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) has been conducting a series of health fairs in communities around the island of St. Vincent. These events are specifically offering testing and preventitive education on the chronic diseases of diabetes and hypertension, both of which are on the rise in Trinity's Caribbean home.

Topics: trinity school of medicine Community service Accredited caribbean medical school Trinity students early clinical experience AMSA RaWC

Trinity School of Medicine Students Join World Pediatric Project Physicians on Spinal Mission

While the World Pediatric Project typically holds an annual scoliosis clinic in St. Vincent in November, during the last visit, the number of cases proved to be overwhelming for the available time.  As a result, an additional surgical scoliosis clinic was scheduled for early Summer 2017. As always, a team of students from Trinity School of Medicine joined the visiting physicians to learn and assist.

Topics: trinity school of medicine Community service Accredited caribbean medical school Trinity students world pediatric project

Trinity School of Medicine's Society of Medicine and Surgery Conducts First Aid Training

Last month, the Trinity School of Medicine chapter of the Society of Medicine and Surgery (SMS) conducted a first aid class for thirty-four of St. Vincent's Girl Guides. 

Topics: Caribbean medical school student success Community service Accredited caribbean medical school Outreach Trinity students SMS

Trinity School of Medicine Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Charles Gil Boland

Trinity School of Medicine has always prided itself on the strength and ambition of its students. So many future physicians come our way looking for something new; whether that's a unique learning environment built on support and a strong relationship with the faculty, a curriculum with an emphasis on clinical skills and service to patients, or just a fresh start. In this next edition of our alumni spotlight, meet Dr. Charles "Gil" Boland, Trinity graduate and chief anesthesia resident at Cook County HHS in Chicago, Illinois.

Topics: Caribbean medical school student success trinity school of medicine Accredited caribbean medical school Graduates of Trinity School of Medicine alumni spotlight

Trinity School of Medicine Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Sophie Waterman

Trinity School of Medicine has always prided itself on the strength and ambition of its students. So many future physicians come our way looking for something new; whether that's a unique learning environment built on support and a strong relationship with the faculty, a curriculum with an emphasis on clinical skills and service to patients, or just a fresh start. In this next edition of our alumni spotlight, meet Dr. Sophie Waterman, Trinity graduate and family medicine resident in British Columbia, Canada.

Topics: trinity school of medicine Community service Accredited caribbean medical school Options for Canadians for medical school Graduates of Trinity School of Medicine alumni spotlight

Trinity School of Medicine Holds May 2017 White Coat Ceremony

The Trinity School of Medicine 2017 May-term white coat ceremony was held on campus last week. Guests included the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Frederick Ballantyne, members of Trinity’s board of trustees, family and friends of the newly matriculated medical students, and faculty and staff.

Topics: Caribbean medical school student success trinity school of medicine Accredited caribbean medical school Trinity students white coat ceremony 2017

Student Profiles: Success and the  ILP Experience

 Meet Sarah.

Sarah is a Trinity student wrapping up her clinical rotations and headed into the match. Her early story is common of premed students (although she, herself, is exceptional, as you'll soon learn). She has a BS in biology from the University of Illinois and boasted a strong GPA. She had significant and diverse clinical volunteer experience coming into the application cycle, and picked up a number of incredibly inspirational stories about patient interactions that deepened her commitment to medicine. In the middle of all of that, she worked full-time at a neurologist's office and volunteered as a teaching assistant in EMT certification. 

She came to Trinity for a couple of reasons, initially interested in our small class approach, as she does her best with conceptual learning in small group discussion. Our curriculum's opportunity for just that obviously appealed to her. She also ended up our way because her MCAT was, in her own words, "Not great, not really competitive."

We have spoken, time and again, about the inflated competitiveness of US medical school admissions and their over-reliance on the MCAT exam, how the MCAT is not an effective predictor of success in medical school. Sarah is a great example of that.

Sarah was admitted to Trinity School of Medicine's MD program on the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) track. For those who don't know, the ILP program is a reorganization of the early basic sciences that "ramps" the course work up to the standard track's load at the start of term three. ILP students aren't separate in any regard other than scheduling, and given the small size of Trinity's student body, the only real noticeable difference from a social aspect is that they are in St. Vincent for one additional term. Trinity's tuition is also pro-rated for these students. There is no additional tuition cost for ILP students, even though they are on the island for an additional 10 weeks. 

Back on topic: Sarah utterly thrived in Trinity's ILP track, taking that "not really competitive" MCAT score that many students feel would keep them out of medical school, and going on to score a 244 on the USMLE Step-1 exam, and a 265 on the USMLE Step-2 CK
Illustrated a different way, Sarah had an MCAT score that had her anxious about being admitted to medical school at all. Given an opportunity to thrive, and in an environment where she could do so on her own terms, she proved herself to be in the 93rd percentile of not just Trinity students, or Caribbean students, or IMGs in general, but the top 7% of all US and international medical students combined. 

This is important for a number of reasons. First, it should send a clear message to students of what they can accomplish in the right envornment, but it's also a major signal to residency directors. Year after year, Step-1 score is the top criteria for matching.

What follows are answers straight from Sarah. How she felt along the way, what worked for her, what didn't, and how she built success in Trinity's ILP program. 

How was the MCAT prep process for you?
I did not feel good going into the MCAT. I did a Kaplan classroom course. I was there three times a week for a couple of hours, but even still, I was very stressed. I had a lot on my plate. I had a full time job, I was attending undergrad, and had a lot of extra-curricular activities.  I do blame myself, I think my downfall was time management. I felt I knew the information, I was still very anxious, though. To this day, I still think the MCAT was the hardest exam I’ve ever taken. (USMLE) Step-1 and 2 were much easier by comparison.

Topics: Caribbean medical school student success trinity school of medicine Accredited caribbean medical school alumni spotlight Trinity students step 1 score ILP MCAT step 2

Carlson's Caribbean Adventure: A Trinity Student Blog

Want a direct student perspective? Read Moriah Carlson's blog about life on St. Vincent and her husband's time at Trinity!