FAIMER Research Associate Marta van Zanten, Ph.D. (cand.), is the recipient of the 2009 Research in Medical Education (RIME) Outstanding Paper Award for the paper, “Medical Education in the Caribbean: Variability in Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates Certification Rates and United States Medical Licensing Examination Attempts,” co-authored by FAIMER Associate Vice President for Research and Data Resources John Boulet, Ph.D. The award will be presented on November 9, 2010, at the RIME Invited Address session at the annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in Washington, DC.
The paper is the result of research that investigated demographic characteristics and performance outcomes of physicians who received their undergraduate medical education in the Caribbean. The research included almost 20,000 students/graduates who registered for an exam leading to Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) certification. United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) attempts and ECFMG certification rates (from 1996 to January 21, 2009) were summarized by country of medical school. Results showed that the proportions of females and non-U.S. citizens attending medical schools in the Caribbean are increasing. Average exam attempts for certified individuals ranged, by country of medical school, from 1.19 to 2.84 for the USMLE Step 1 exam, from 1.20 to 2.13 for the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK) component, and from 1.01 to 1.42 for the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) component and ECFMG Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA). Approximately 14,000 (74.2%) individuals achieved certification, and success rates ranged, by country, from 19.1% to 91.5%. These results highlight the significant variability in performance of Caribbean-educated physicians.