TCI to Get First Medical University
Turks & Caicos News
Turks & Caicos News – August 2012
TCI to Get First Medical University
THE Turks and Caicos Islands will be home to the Global University Schools of Medicine and Public Health (GU-MED) come autumn of 2013, whose starting investment is approximately $8.4m. Governor Ric Todd, on Tuesday, announced the Turks and Caicos Islands Government’s (TCIG) approval of the project. GU-MED has also received interim accreditation from the Caribbean Authority for Accreditation in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). CAAM-HP is the accrediting authority for the CARICOM countries and will facilitate the completion of construction and development of Provo's first university. The university was the brainchild of Dr. Raul R. Cuadrado, chairman, founder, rector, Dean Emeritus and distinguished Professor of Public Health, who hopes it will meet the urgent need for primary care practitioners and experts in public health.
The Provost (senior academic administrator)/ Dean, Mr. Tomlin Paul, explained that work on having the university established in the TCI has been going on for the last few years. He noted that plans have already been drawn up and approved for the refurbishing and fitting of the Prestige Property, which will house the university. Paul maintained that work will start as soon as possible.
GU-MED’s facilities in Providenciales, in addition to housing space for administrative offices, classrooms, seminar rooms and library, will also house an integrated basic sciences laboratory, a communication and clinical skills lab, and a Center of Excellence and Research (COE&R). All classrooms and seminar rooms will be equipped for videoconferencing and electronic systems will allow for real-time demonstrations and interactive teaching and learning. The Provost/ Dean stated that there will also be a Center of Excellence and Research within the TCI specialising not only in medical, but also public health training. This will afford the TCI the opportunity to interact with higher-level academic medicine and participate in research with potential health benefits to its population. According to him, once work is completed CAAM-HP officials are expected to visit and give their final approval for the university to begin operations. He said, "We want to be different, we want to be relevant and innovative…we will be looking at research and innovative programmes outside the traditional curriculum.” GU-MED, Paul said, the university will offer:
* A four year allopathic medical course leading to the award of a Degree in Medicine (MD);
* An innovative Advanced Standing Program for issuance of MD;
* Degrees for qualified Physician Assistants (PAs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs), as well as qualified International Medical Graduates (IMGs) from approved World Health Organisation (WHO) schools; and
* Masters and Doctorates degrees in Public Health.
He noted that clinical rotations will be conducted in accredited hospitals in the United States of America, the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.
The Provost/ Dean said, "We will be collaborating closely with the health sector here in the TCI, in exposing out students to primary and secondary healthcare practice…we will be bringing together local and overseas expertise.” He explained that the model for medical education is one that recognises the importance of the teaching hospital, as well as the need for providing accessible and quality primary healthcare. "We will have our students working with the Ministry of Health in the local health centres. We hope to have the type of partnership that facilitates service learning. "Service learning is not new to the region, it’s where you have the students offer a service while they learn…we hope to have such a model not only in Providenciales, but in the other islands.” On that note, Paul added that medical practitioners locally will be involved in rolling out the university’s curriculum. He said, "It will be a combination of overseas and local faculty…there are a number of practitioners here in the islands who have tremendous experience and expertise who we will be engaging as associate lecturers and part-time lecturers.” According to him, GU-MED has already signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, and the Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut, seeking to establish affiliations across academic and research areas.
Academic world known researchers will serve as faculties and as mentors for the students in their graduate dissertations.
OPPORTUNITY FOR LOCALS
The Provost/ Dean said the university will start out with 20 students, but is expected to expand to accommodate 100 students annually. According to him, students will be taken from across the Caribbean region, as well as other parts of the world. However, he acknowledged the need for local envolvement and assured that within the first five years of operation, "bridge facilities” will be available to cater to the needs of local students coming out of high school. "We will certainly be looking at this,” the Provost/ Dean said. As to the entry requirements, Paul stated that while the university will be accepting the best students, there will be no discrimination in providing opportunities for aspiring health practitioners. Asked about tuition, the Provost/ Dean noted that the GU-MED’s rates are competitive, set within the region of approximately $28,500 annually, compared to rates in the United States, which range closer to $40,000.
Dr. Carlton Mills, who has actively been involved in getting the project off the ground, made it clear that the university’s establishment is not a "fly-by-night” operation, which is why its establishment took a few years. "There are tremendous benefits that the university will bring to the Turks and Caicos Islands,” Mills said.
Vanessa Narine - Turks & Caicos Weekly Newspaper, August 14th, 2012