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I'm a Saba Doctor.


I'm a Saba Doctor.


I'm a Saba Doctor.

SABA: Eligible for U.S. and
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I'm a Saba Doctor.

SABA: Graduate with less debt

Where Saba students go for residency

Saba Student Looks at Why Canada Lacks Doctors

Forty years ago, Canada enjoyed one of the best physician-to-population ratios among developed countries. That's not the case today.
Among the 34 countries that are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada now ranks 28th.

What happened? Andrei V. Malko, a student at Saba University School of Medicine, decided to find out. He made the shortage of doctors in Canada the focus for the research paper that is required of all Saba students.

And now Andrei has joined the select group of Saba students who have had their papers published—his paper, Physician Shortage in Canada: A Review of Contributing Factors, appears in the Global Journal of Health Science, Published by the Canadian Center of Science and Education.

 “Assessing medical data is a critical skill for any physician today,” said Jim Bruzik, Associate Dean for Medical Education at Saba.  ”Since we made the research module part of the Saba curriculum, students tell us it gives them a real point of differentiation in their residency interviews. This is especially the case for students like Andrei and others who have had their papers published.”

Andrei looked at a wide range of underlying factors impacting Canada’s physician shortage from government policies and population demographics to medical student career preferences and the decline in physician productivity. Understanding the wide range of underlying causes is critical because, he notes, “decisions that are made today will take at least a decade to reveal their full effect.”

To see Andrei’s’ published paper, click here.  To learn more about the student research program at Saba, including video interviews with Dean Bruzik and other Saba graduates who have had their papers published, go here on the Saba website

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The ‘Darkest Time’ in Med School—Prepping for Your Third Year Clinical Rotations


Just a few years ago, you could sum up a medical education quite simply as two years in the classroom (i.e., learning the basic sciences) and two years making rounds (i.e., your clinical clerkships.)

But now leading medical schools, including Saba University School of Medicine, have overhauled their curriculums to better integrate the clinical side much earlier.

There are many reasons for this change, but one often overlooked aspect is the realization that making such a stark transition from classroom to clinicals in the third year wasn’t healthy for anyone—not the students themselves and not their patients.

According to Danielle Ofri, a medical school professor and author of the book What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine, the “ice-water plunge” into primal clinical experiences produces a welter of emotions, not all of them positive. Coming to grips with the messy realities of disease and death, observing egos and medical hierarchies, witnessing fear, anger, grief, humiliation in patients and doctors alike—and going through all of this for six-weeks, before being whisked off to start over again in other rotation—these are all reasons why the third year is often referred to as the “darkest” year of med school.

Ofri points to studies that document the decline of empathy and moral reasoning in medical trainees during the third year—emotions that can profoundly affect what kind of doctors these students become and the quality of medical care they can give to their patients.

On a positive note, she points to the growing recognition of this challenge as schools such as Saba reorient their clinical curriculums, introducing greater clinical exposure well before the third year and implementing more hands-on mentorship.

For more about Dr. Ofri’s observations, see her article The Darkest Year of Medical School.

For more about Saba’s clinical program, including interviews with deans and students, go to

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Great Books by Michael Collins on Becoming a Doctor


For more than 30 years—in fact ever since he completed his residency—Michael Collins has been an orthopedic surgeon in a practice just outside of Chicago. He’s also the author of two acclaimed memoirs: Hot Lights, Cold Steel traces the arc of his four-year surgical residency at the Mayo Clinic from eager but clueless first-year resident to accomplished chief resident. His second memoir, Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs, goes back further in time to his pre-medical school life working construction jobs.

Both books are great reads, as is a recent interview in which he reflected on his life and the changes he has seen in medicine. Some of the most interesting takeaways from the interview:

·         Back when Collins went to medical school at Loyola University (today the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine), the curriculum was completed in three years. He says today’s four-year curriculum is better.

·         Collins matched in pediatrics before his first experience with orthopedics. He finished out the year in pediatrics and then switched to a four-year orthopedics residency.

·         In going for his residency, he didn’t do any visiting rotations. He got into the orthopedics residency because he played hockey with a guy who was high up in the department. He is staggered by what medical students today have to do to get a residency.

·         After practicing for over thirty years, how does he keep from burning out? “Burnout occurs when there is a disconnect between expectations and reality. It’s important to go into things with an understanding of what it’s going to be like. There are negatives: you probably won’t make as much money as a generation ago, plus the other things like paperwork, and the business of medicine. These are all true, and they are a problem. But I think if you focus as a clinical practitioner, basic things haven’t changed in thousands of years. You go into a room, talk to the patient, figure out the patient’s problem, and do whatever you can to help them. Helping people with their problems is the greatest thing about medicine. If you focus on that instead of the paperwork you have to do, you’re less likely to burn out.”

Collins has many more interesting observations. Ready them in the interview or take some time to read one of his memoirs.

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Which Medical Specialty is Seeing Rising Demand?


Here’s a quiz: which of the following five medical specialties was most in demand in New York State in 2015:

1.       Neurology

2.       Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

3.       Radiology

4.       Family Medicine

5.       Emergency Medicine

It’s a tough one, but if you answered family medicine you got it right. But don’t feel bad if you missed this one. This is the first time family medicine has topped the demand list since the Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS) began compiling a “demand index” of medical specialties in the late 1990s.

Back when the CHWS began measuring demand by surveying residents and fellows—factoring in things like the number of offers received by respondents, trends in starting income and the percentage of respondents having difficulty finding a satisfactory practice position—family medicine was far closer to the bottom of the list. Since 2008, however, family medicine has seen increasing demand. Efforts to reform healthcare delivery, such as the Affordable Care Act, are seen as likely factors in the changing demand index.

Because about 15 percent of all residents and fellows in the US (including graduates of Saba University School of Medicine) do their training in New York State, the rise in demand for family doctors there is seen as an indicator of the growing importance of family medicine.

Overall, the survey found that demand for generalists—family medicine, emergency medicine, adult, psychiatry, dermatology, and general internal medicine—appeared very strong.

See the Health Affairs Blog for a summary of the report, co-authored by one of the original designers of the demand index. And you can read the full report here.


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Wearing a White Coat—Who, What, When, Where and Why


At Saba University School of Medicine, all first semester students undergo the rite of passage known as the White Coat Ceremony—you don a short white coat, a symbol of your status as a full-fledged medical student. Upon graduation from Saba, that short coat will be replaced by a long one, a sign of your status as a full-fledged physician. End of story? Not by a long shot.

 For starters, a lot of professionals in the medical world now wear long white coats. To an anonymous, young, female physician blogging on KevinMD, this is troubling: “As a female physician I often will enter a room and introduce myself as Dr. (last name), and I cannot tell you how many times the patient or family member will remark to another person in the room or on the phone, and say “Oh, the nurse is here.”

 This physician isn’t putting down non-physician colleagues—simply wondering if there isn’t a way that other medical practitioners can acquire a distinctive, professional attire, symbolizing the dedication and skill they bring to healthcare, without it being the long white coat traditionally worn by physicians.

 For Shivam Joshi, MD, the issue is not who wears the white coats, but where. Writing in his blog AFTERNOONROUNDS, he reports being aghast at running into a fellow physician wearing his white coat at the grocery store.

 Dr. Joshi cites studies showing how much bacteria has been found on white coats and notes that Britain’s National Health Service now bans doctors from wearing white coats in the hospital and the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Health bans them outside the hospital.

 The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology in America (SHEA) recently recommended that healthcare providers should possess two or more white coats, launder them regularly and have access to hooks where the white coat (or other long-sleeved outerwear) could be placed prior to patient contact.

 So, that first-semester White Coat ceremony? It’s a rite of passage into the world of healthcare in more ways than you might have realized.

Photo: White Coats at Saba


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To Be a Great Resident, Think Critically


What’s the best predictor of success in residency and beyond? The answer is critical thinking, according to a recent study. When researchers analyzed four different sets of data on a group of Canadian medical residents—including the results on a family medicine certification exam, MCAT scores, the resident’s Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) file and the results on a critical thinking test (known as the California Critical Thinking Skills Test or CCTST)—it turned out that it was the results on the CCTST that were the best harbingers of a successful residency outcome.  According to the researchers, while many residency programs use a variety of criteria and tools to choose students, “the results of this study suggest that [critical thinking test] may be useful as a tool for improving resident selection.”

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2016 Match Results: Another Year of Top Residencies for Saba

The 2016 Match Results are in and once again graduates of Saba University School of Medicine posted a record performance in both the U.S. and Canadian residency matches, earning coveted appointments at top medical centers across both countries.

How well our students do in obtaining residency appointments is a primary measure of our success as a school and based on the 2016 results Saba continues its place as a leading international medical school.

Over 150 Saba graduates participated in the 2016 match process. Appointments included:

·         Anesthesiology: Boston University

·         General Surgery: Yale New Haven

·         Internal Medicine: Cleveland Clinic

·         Radiology Diagnostic: Tulane U School of Medicine

·         Family Medicine: McMaster U/Hamilton General Hospital

·         Pediatrics: St Francis Medical Center

·         Pathology: University of Ottawa

·         Neurology: SUNY Downstate Health Science Center-Brooklyn

Click here to see the complete 2016 list of hospitals where Saba graduates are undertaking their residencies.

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Just Getting to Know Saba—Here Are 5 Fast Facts


  1. A Leading International School: Saba has been educating physicians for more than 20 years and is one of the most established and experienced international medical schools in the world.
  2. 99% USMLE Pass Rate: Saba students have a 99% first-time pass rate on the USMLE.  Based on data compiled by U.S. News and World Report, that not only exceeds any other Caribbean school, it’s better than most U.S. schools.
  3. Residencies: Saba graduates earn residencies at a rate consistent with U.S. medical schools, including appointments in 2016 at Boston University, Hershey Medical Center/Penn State, McMaster and Queen’s Universities (Ontario) and Yale.  Many Saba graduates become family doctors, addressing the critical need for primary care in the US and Canada.
  4. Approvals: Saba has received all approvals needed to enable our students to practice anywhere in the US and Canada. Saba was approved for participation in the Title IV U.S. Federal Direct Student Loan Program after the U.S. Dept. of Education determined that Saba’s academic program was comparable to that of U.S. medical schools. Because Saba, the island, is actually part of the Netherlands, Saba University has undergone a rigorous accreditation to meet European standards.  In effect, Saba is a European medical school that happens to be on a Caribbean island. 
  5. Tuition: In addition to Title IV loan availability, Saba aggressively manages tuition, keeping it 30-50% less than other international schools with comparable ranking.


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Saba Grad Takes Part in Canada’s First Successful Hand Transplant Operation

Photo Credit: University of Toronto, University Health Network

Canada’s first successful hand transplant operation had special meaning for Saba University School of Medicine. Giancarlo McEvenue, MD, a 2010 Saba grad, was part of the team of surgeons who successfully attached a donated hand and forearm on a 49 year old woman who lost her arm below the elbow in an accident several years ago.

A native of Toronto, McEvenue completed an undergraduate honours degree in Human Biology at the University of Toronto before heading to Saba for his medical degree. He is currently a senior resident in the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Toronto. The 14-hour operation was performed at Toronto Western Hospital. While 110 transplants have been completed around the world, this was the first time it was done in Canada.

Learn more about Giancarlo and the operation at

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Saba—“The 18th Canadian Medical School?”

Getting into medical school is no easy task. That’s because there are simply not enough seats in medical schools to meet the number of students who want to become physicians. This is especially true in Canada where there are only 17 medical schools. A typical year sees more than 30,000 applicants competing for about 2,500 places. While Saba is located on a Dutch island in the Caribbean, it actually plays a significant role in the Canadian healthcare system. In fact, well over half of Saba alumni hail from Canada and stop in at almost any major Canadian medical center and you will find Saba graduates on staff. Learn more about the Saba-Canada connection, including interviews with some of our Canadian alumni, at

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Saba—‘The European Medical School in the Caribbean’

Many people know that Saba has received ALL of the approvals needed to enable our students to practice anywhere in the US and Canada. Also, Saba has been approved for participation in the Title IV U.S. Federal Direct Student Loan Program based on the U.S. Dept. of Education’s determination that Saba’s academic program is comparable to that of U.S. medical schools.

What you may not know is that because Saba (the island) is actually part of the Netherlands, Saba University has also undergone a rigorous accreditation to meet European standards.   Saba University School of Medicine has been accredited by the NVAO (in Dutch: Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie), the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders. This organization was established by international treaty and ensures the utmost quality of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders. So when it comes to international medical schools, Saba really is quite unique:  a medical school with European accreditation that happens to be located in the Caribbean.

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Saba Students Undertake a Wide Range of Clinical Rotations

One of the top questions we hear from prospective students is “Where will I do my clinical rotations?” It’s a very important question because where you do your clinical rotations—particularly your elective rotations—has a big impact on where you do your residency.

Saba students complete clinical rotations at medical centers across the US and Canada. Here is a snapshot of Saba graduates since 2000.



18,000+ Rotations: While Saba is a relatively small school—our class sizes are just a fraction of what you will see at some of the other medical schools located in the Caribbean—Saba students have completed more than 18,000 elective rotations across the US and Canada.

Every Specialty Represented: The American Medical Association groups physicians into 26 specialty groups, from Allergy/Immunology and Anesthesiology to Surgery and Urology. Saba students pursued electives in every one of those 26 specialties, as well as other “ungrouped” specialties such as Hospitalist and Wilderness Medicine.

Top Specialties for Electives: The top areas for Saba students to pursue elective rotations were Internal Medicine, Surgery, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Family/General Practice, Cardiology, Emergency Medicine and Radiology.

Numerous Subspecialties: Saba students pursued elective rotations in numerous subspecialties. For example, Saba students completed electives in surgical subspecialties including Burn Surgery, Cardiovascular, Colon & Rectal, Craniofacial, Endovascular Surgical Neuroradiology, Pediatric Cardiothoracic, Critical Care ICU, Transplantation, Trauma and Wound Care.

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Video Interview: Why a Small School Makes All the Difference

When Rachel Haywood looks back at how she earned her medical degree at Saba University—and was then tapped for a sought-after surgical residency at Yale—she credits one of Saba's defining attributes above all others: the small class sizes. "I went to a big university. I just got lost in the crowd. But that's impossible to do at Saba. People are going to be watching you, keeping an eye on you. If you sway off track, they're going to bring you back onto the path that you need to go in order to achieve your dreams."

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