This article was written for the Anguillian by Saint James’ Chief Operating Officer Shirsha Guha. It is the inaugural article for a regular weekly column by Saint James School of Medicine, so keep reading the Anguillian for more news and updates from the School.
The Saint James School of Medicine story began all began way back in 1999 when our founder and President Dr.Kallol Guha along with a group of educators and physicians in the US and Europe founded Saint James School of Medicine in Bonaire. We started operations in 1999 and Saint James enrolled its first student in 2001. The first class in Bonaire started with a mere 22 students. Today Bonaire has close to 230 students on school and an additional 250 students doing their clinical rotations in the US. We have numerous graduates and students in residency programs and as licensed physicians in the US and Canada. Our students routinely place in competitive specialties and prestigious programs, although the majority gravitate to primary care which is the specialty that is slated to become the most sought after in the coming years.
Based on this success and experience, Saint James School of Medicine Anguilla opened its doors in January 2010 with just 22 students. Since then we have welcomed an additional 64 students, including 2 Anguillian students. This September however, we are preparing to welcome 55 to 60 new students at once. These students have already begun arriving on Anguilla and will continue to do so through the first week of September. Unlike tourists, these students will integrate with their friends and neighbors in Anguilla over the next 16 months. They are here on a mission to fulfill their dream of becoming a physician and in the process enjoy the tranquility of life on this beautiful island. They will rent apartments and houses, buy groceries, and live life here for the next 16 months. After that they will continue with an additional two and half to three years of clinical education in the US, that will include passing the US licensure examinations, the USMLE. Only then will they receive their medical degrees. Both in the US and Canada, medical students must complete an additional qualification called a residency, which takes 3 years if they specialize in internal medicine, and up to 7 years if they choose specialties like surgery. So the next time you see a medical student herein Anguilla, please be nice to them knowing they have started down a long and hard road that will require a lot of work and perseverance.
We are honored to bring you the Saint James School of Medicine column. Every week you will see articles from members of our faculty (all extremely qualified in their fields, who hold either MDs or PhDs or both, from around the world), our student body or student government representatives, our staff, or our management. This column is intended to bring you interesting topics in healthcare news and breakthroughs that are relevant to you or sometimes, just give you a glimpse into everyday life at Saint James and our progress in Anguilla. We hope you enjoy this column and that you will tune in every week. Happy reading!
Chief Operating Officer, Saint James School of Medicine