Since its first class of 2005, the Latin American Medical School (ELAM) has graduated over 23,000 physicians from low-income communities in Africa, Asia and the Americas (including the USA). Nearly 10,000 more are enrolled in the program, thanks to the full scholarships offered by Cuba. These new MDs make a commitment to work in underserved areas upon graduation.
Young people from over 100 ethnic groups—over half of them women—study in an environment that recognizes the right of every patient to care, and that centers learning in the community, where health promotion is as important as disease management. (See….URL of ELAM….for the full ELAM curriculum.)
I know of no other medical school with an admissions policy that gives first priority to candidates who come from poor communities and know, first-hand, what it means to live without access to essential medical care. For once, if you are poor, female, or from an indigenous population, you have a distinct advantage.
~WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan, visiting ELAM
MEDICC supports ELAM with thousands of textbooks, access to online journals, and special initiatives for students and graduates from Haiti, El Salvador, the indigenous Garifuna regions of Honduras, and the USA. In Haiti, MEDICC works with Global Links and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to provide vital supplies for Haitian and other ELAM graduates who are helping that country build a new, sustainable public health system. In El Salvador, MEDICC support facilitated the first international scientific meeting in El Salvador on a grave type of chronic kidney disease felling farmers in poor communities from Central America, to Peru, Sri Lanka and India. MEDICC Review is the first peer-reviewed journal to dedicate an entire issue to this growing global threat. In Honduras, MEDICC funds communications, volunteer programs and other vital services for the country´s first indigenous hospital in Ciriboya. In the USA, MEDICC has organized a Pipeline to Community Service that includes mentorship, summer clinical placements, financial support for the US licensing exam and associated preparation, and a postgraduate course to streamline planning for residency programs.